« 防衛白書 中国の「危険行動」を抑止せよ | トップページ | 熱中症予防 過度に節電せず冷房の活用を »

2013年7月12日 (金)

13参院選 TPP交渉 参加出遅れに危機感が乏しい

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 12, 2013
Political parties lack seriousness over Japan’s late entry in TPP talks
13参院選 TPP交渉 参加出遅れに危機感が乏しい(7月11日付・読売社説)

How should Japan deal with negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement?

Each political party is accountable for its stance on the TPP during the ongoing campaign for the House of Councillors election.

The U.S. Congress likely will complete procedures soon over Japan’s entry into TPP negotiations, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement of Japan’s intent to join the talks. Eleven countries, including the United States and Australia, are scheduled to hold a new round of TPP talks in Malaysia on July 15-25. For several days toward the end of the round, Japan is expected to finally be able to sit at the negotiating table.

With its population shrinking, Japan needs to tap into Asia’s vitality by promoting free trade in an effort to buoy its economic growth.

Japan must catch up

Aiming to reach a broad agreement within the year, the 11 countries are likely to step up TPP negotiations. Japan has lagged behind in the TPP talks, but it must explore ways to catch up with its negotiating partners in creating trade rules.

Although Japan faces these difficult circumstances, the parties’ campaign pledges indicate they do not feel the urgency of the TPP issue. As a result, the TPP has not been a major contentious topic in the campaign.

Regarding the TPP issue, the Liberal Democratic Party has stressed it would seek the best possible path in line with national interests by protecting what needs protecting and pushing for what the nation wants.

In its comprehensive policy package, however, the LDP has called on the government to place priority on ensuring that five key agricultural items, such as rice and wheat, will be exempt from tariff elimination in TPP negotiations. It also calls for the government not to hesitate to pull out from the trade talks if the items are not protected. The LDP’s Hokkaido chapter has taken an even tougher stance, saying it will stand firm and not accept tariff elimination without exceptions.

As the prime minister has vowed to enter TPP negotiations “with the determination to secure national interests,” Japan needs to flex its bargaining muscle.

Along with its coalition partner, New Komeito, the LDP should support the government and reflect national interests in TPP-related policies.

It is also vital for political parties to propose feasible measures to make the nation’s agriculture competitive in preparation for further market liberalization.

Active debate urged

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party, both pushing for Japan’s entry into the TPP talks, have called for a review of a measure to reduce rice production, an overhaul of agricultural cooperatives and other reforms. We urge the parties to have a vigorous debate on these issues.

Meanwhile, the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, has pledged in its campaign platform to seek high-level economic partnerships and take the lead in drawing up global trade rules. But at the same time, it has also said, “We will take up the TPP issue without hesitating to withdraw [from the TPP talks].” The party’s proposed measures to beef up the agricultural sector appear vague.

The Japanese Communist Party, the People’s Life Party, the Social Democratic Party and Green Wind all have opposed Japan’s participation in the TPP talks. However, Japan, which thrived as a trading country, is unlikely to be able to develop a vision for the future if it decides to stay away from such a free trade framework in Asia.

The TPP negotiations address not only tariff elimination but also a wide range of other areas, such as rules for investment and intellectual property protection. How can Japan take advantage of the TPP to boost its competitiveness? We urge voters to closely look at each party’s proposal on the TPP.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 11, 2013)
(2013年7月11日01時26分  読売新聞)


« 防衛白書 中国の「危険行動」を抑止せよ | トップページ | 熱中症予防 過度に節電せず冷房の活用を »





« 防衛白書 中国の「危険行動」を抑止せよ | トップページ | 熱中症予防 過度に節電せず冷房の活用を »