« インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ | トップページ | aung san suu kyi Now »

2010年10月28日 (木)

太平洋経済連携 首相は交渉参加に指導力を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 28, 2010)
Kan must take initiative to join TPP negotiations
太平洋経済連携 首相は交渉参加に指導力を(10月27日付・読売社説)

Members of the government and the Democratic Party of Japan are split over whether Japan should join an economic partnership framework to liberalize trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is extremely important for Japan's economic growth that this nation harnesses the economic vitality of nations in Asia and elsewhere.

We urge Prime Minister Naoto Kan to exercise leadership to quickly form a consensus within his party on this matter, and make sure Japan is actively involved in the partnership framework.

The framework is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, whose original agreement came into force in 2006 with four members--Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Five more nations including the United States and Australia later started negotiations to join the partnership. The nine nations have been negotiating with the target of concluding a final agreement next autumn.

Canada, China and South Korea are reportedly keen to join the TPP. It is highly likely that this grouping will eventually expand into a huge strategic economic partnership agreement.


Chance to grow at stake

If Japan does not join the TPP, it would be excluded from a framework indispensable for the country's economic development. We think the government would be wise to join the negotiations as early as possible to boost trade and give economic growth a shot in the arm.

Discussions for and against participation in the TPP came to life after Kan told the Diet he would consider joining the negotiations.

Japan's strategy on economic partnership agreements has fallen behind those of South Korea and other countries. The government will at long last formulate a basic policy on EPAs in early November. It seems Kan wants to include Japan's participation in the TPP in this basic policy.

The timing of these developments suggests Kan would like to lead discussions on promoting free trade at a series of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings to be held in Yokohama next month. Kan will be chairman of the APEC summit.

Japan urgently needs to regain lost ground in its trade policy. We welcome Kan's zeal for joining the TPP.

However, difficulties lie ahead. The TPP defines rules to abolish tariffs of commodities in principle. If Japan signed on to the agreement, it would be required to abolish tariffs on agricultural products such as rice, which have been protected by high customs duties. Therefore, the framework will pose some vexing problems for Japan.


Conflicts of interest

Agricultural organizations and the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry fiercely oppose joining the TPP. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, former Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masahiko Yamada and many other DPJ members participated in a recent study meeting for DPJ members who oppose the TPP. They are at odds with the Foreign Ministry, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the business community, which are all for participation in the TPP.

We think Hatoyama and other TPP opponents are more concerned with trying to rattle the Kan administration than actually objecting to the trade partnership.

Admittedly, diametrically differing estimates of the effects of Japan's participation in the TPP have created confusion. METI and others say joining the TPP would help Japan's economy by about 7 trillion yen to 10 trillion yen in 2020. However, the farm ministry says participation would result in a loss of nearly 16 trillion yen, if the decline in agricultural production and effects on other industries are factored into the equation.

The government needs to settle on one final figure and show it to the people. Failure to do so will leave the public unable to judge whether joining the TPP would be to Japan's advantage or not.

The DPJ-led government has introduced income support for individual agricultural households, but it has done nothing to improve the international competitiveness of Japan's agricultural products. It should review this dole-out policy and quickly formulate measures to revamp the nation's agriculture sector to prepare for liberalization of the market.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 27, 2010)
(2010年10月27日01時46分  読売新聞)


« インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ | トップページ | aung san suu kyi Now »





« インド首相来日 経済・安保両面で連携深めよ | トップページ | aung san suu kyi Now »