« 大飯再稼働訴訟 不合理な推論が導く否定判決 | トップページ | (社説)厚木基地訴訟 住民に真摯に向き合え »

2014年5月23日 (金)

TPP交渉前進 新興国との調整も急ぎたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:19 pm, May 22, 2014
Participating TPP countries must work together toward a speedy conclusion
TPP交渉前進 新興国との調整も急ぎたい

The achievement of a broad agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks has been postponed once again. The 12 participating countries, including Japan and the United States, should strive to make compromises toward a final conclusion.

In a joint statement issued at the Singapore meeting, ministers from the 12 nations stressed they “cemented our shared views on what is needed to bring negotiations to a close,” and added they had “focused in particular on making meaningful progress on market access and also advanced outstanding rules issues.”

Akira Amari, state minister in charge of TPP talks, said at a joint press conference: “The fog has started to clear more certainly than before. The negotiations are in their final phase.” It is also meaningful that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman also praised the two-day meeting, noting that the participating countries have set a precedent for future negotiations.

It can be said that they further advanced toward the settlement of the difficult negotiations that have been ongoing for about four years, with the chief negotiators scheduled for another meeting in July. Before that, Japan and the United States plan to resume a bilateral working-level meeting next week.

Bearing in mind the fruits of their bilateral negotiations in April, the two governments should make final adjustments with haste and add an impetus to the TPP talks as a whole. The July meeting will surely be a turning point in negotiations.

In Singapore, discussions touched on such issues as five key farm products categories, including beef and pork, which Japan demanded to be treated as exceptions to tariff abolition, and U.S. insistence on wider access to the Japanese car market.

Domestic pressures

Given the smoldering complaints from affected industries in both Japan and the United States regarding final-stage negotiations, it is important for the two countries’ governments to direct their energy toward the persuasion of the parties concerned.

Negotiations have yet to be settled in a similar vein between the United States and the emerging economies involved, such as Malaysia and Vietnam, on a range of issues including the reform of state-owned firms and intellectual property rights on the side of the emerging economies.

To equalize competitive conditions for foreign capital, the United States has urged the emerging economies to reduce and abolish preferential tax treatment for state-owned companies to protect their own nations’ industries.

But the emerging economies show strong resistance to the proposal. The United States should also extend a certain understanding for their domestic situations and attempt to seek common ground.

We are also concerned that the U.S. Congress has yet to pass legislation that will grant trade promotion authority to U.S. President Barack Obama.

If Congress strengthens protectionist pressure ahead of the U.S. midterm congressional elections in November, the Obama administration’s negotiation stance could be affected and result in prolonging the entire TPP process.

The TPP pact aims to establish a new free-trade zone in the Asia and Pacific region, creating jobs and promoting economies through an expansion of investment and trade.

Taking advantage of vitality in Asia under the pact would become a pillar for Japan’s growth strategy. The nation would reap large economic benefits if rules on trade and investment are established, such as the protection of intellectual property rights.

The final stage of negotiations necessitates a stance with a broad perspective on how the TPP pact can lead to the maximization of Japan’s national interests.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 22, 2014)


« 大飯再稼働訴訟 不合理な推論が導く否定判決 | トップページ | (社説)厚木基地訴訟 住民に真摯に向き合え »





« 大飯再稼働訴訟 不合理な推論が導く否定判決 | トップページ | (社説)厚木基地訴訟 住民に真摯に向き合え »