Finish TPP Without Japan

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling on the administration to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations without Japan. In a press release, the NPPC said that Japan continues to refuse to end its protective tariffs on its “sacred” agricultural products of beef, pork, rice, wheat, dairy and sugar. This could risk completing the TPP negotiations. The NPPC said, “Acquiescing to Japan’s demand would represent a radical departure from past U.S. trade policy, which has held to the principle that free-trade agreements (FTA) must cover virtually all trade between the parties. The exemptions from tariff elimination demanded by Japan would be more than all of the tariff line exemptions contained in the previous 17 FTAs combined the United States has implemented this century. Pork never has been excluded from tariff elimination in a U.S. free trade agreement.”

A concern of the NPPC and other agricultural groups is that agreeing to Japan’s demands would undercut the U.S.’s efforts for tariff liberalization during the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union (EU). The EU could demand similar exemptions. Last week no progress was made during negotiations between the United States and Japan on the critical issues of agriculture and automobiles. In a statement following the negotiations, the U.S. Trade Representative said, “While there were constructive working level discussions over the weekend, we were unable to make further progress on key outstanding issues.” 

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