Japan ready to negotiate entry to TPP

Japan says it’s ready to forego trade barriers and join in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and America has cautiously said yes, provided Tokyo’s serious about “putting everything on the table.”

Koji Tsuruoka, the deputy foreign minister for foreign affairs, has been designated Japan’s chief negotiator for the TPP, only three days ahead of the first ministerial meetings on the free trade issues.  Thos meetings slated for Friday, with Japan’s minister in charge of the TPP negotiations, Akira Amari, joining in.

American’s acting U.S. Trade Representative, Demetrios Marantis, said in remarks to the Senate Finance Committee that “President Obama has made it very clear that should Japan join the TPP, it will commit to this goal of seeking the highest standard comprehensive agreement consistent with the goals TPP leaders established nearly 1½ years ago.”  Marantis noted Japan’s joining in the TPP means “huge untapped opportunities in our trading relationship with Japan”.

To achieve that, Marantis says for Japan, it means “putting all goods on the table.”  He was emphatic that the U.S. is working with Japan “to ensure that, should it join, it will be capable of meeting the highest standard possible.”  America has concerns that some sectors of Japan’s economy, including automobiles and insurance, could balk at lifting of restrictions, but Marantis says “we’ve made progress.”

The TPP Team representing Japan will include officials from lawyers and ministries well versed in dealing with foreign firms.