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2011年11月15日 (火)

社説:TPPハワイ会合 国内の調整を急ごう

(Mainichi Japan) November 15, 2011
Editorial: As Japan moves toward TPP, domestic issues demand prompt attention
社説:TPPハワイ会合 国内の調整を急ごう

With Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's declaration that the nation will participate in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, Japan has emerged from an extended period of quietness to underscore its presence in economic diplomacy.

Canada and Mexico have now also expressed their interest in participating in the free trade accord, while the Philippines and Papua New Guinea are said to be considering joining.

Japan's move toward participating has acted as a springboard in expanding the scope of the accord.

Domestic opponents of the pact say that Japan is doing no more than taking part in preliminary arrangements to participate -- a statement that could be deemed true.

In order to participate in TPP negotiations, the approval of the nine current member countries is necessary. TPP交渉の参加国になるには、メンバー国9カ国全部の承認が必要だ。

Japan must therefore move forward with negotiations to gain their approval.

To put it one way, it is as if Japan is now waiting in line at a popular ramen noodle restaurant.

It has joined the queue to get a taste of the ramen, and is not about to go home without eating anything.

In other words, there's no doubt that its actions constitute preliminary arrangements to join the accord, but participating in negotiations is simply a prescribed course.

At the preliminary arrangement stage, negotiations with the United States are expected to require the most effort.  事前協議の段階では、米国との交渉に最も手間がかかるだろう。

The U.S. Congress is putting pressure on the U.S. government, and eyes are turning toward such issues as beef trade, expansion of the postal savings and postal life insurance business, and exports of vehicles to Japan.

The U.S. previously opposed Canada's participation in the TPP on the grounds that there were obstacles in the trade of dairy products and poultry meat in Canada.

The negotiating powers of the Japanese government will be tested from the outset.

New ground has indeed been made with respect to the TPP, but negotiations on difficult issues are yet to come.  TPPの現状は進展といえば進展しているが、難しい問題の交渉はこれからだ。

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii, the nine TPP participants announced a "broad agreement," but this has not extended beyond the scope of general principles.

The United States appears eager to conclude TPP negotiations by the end of next year.

But even U.S. experts say there is no possibility of reaching a settlement in a year when a U.S. presidential election will be held.

There is still time for Japan to stress its national interests.

What now deserves attention is the fact that Mexico and many other countries have started thinking about participating in the agreement.

The power of the free-trade bloc will begin to snowball once the number of participants and their combined economic power surpass a certain level, and a country that is not part of this will be left in a disadvantageous position.

And this is the aim of the TPP.

If Russia and China do not participate, then they will be put at a disadvantage, and to participate, they will have to give up state intervention in economics -- probably the best scenario for the TPP.

Debate has arisen in Japan over whether to lay everything on the table in TPP negotiations, or to reserve "exceptions."

It is important that Japan quickly come up with proper measures to revitalize the domestic agriculture industry. 重要なのはしっかりした農業再生策を早くつくることだ。

Once the agriculture industry finds a way to stand on its own two feet, Japan will be able to exhibit greater leadership in the accord.

While engaging in negotiations with other countries, Japan must also quickly establish domestic measures.

毎日新聞 2011年11月15日 2時31分


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