Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Feature Abe’s Upcoming Visit to the US
By admin April 24, 2015

Paul Ryan, leading a congressional delegation, meets with Shinzo Abe in Tokyo
On April 26 this year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will pay a state visit to the United States. This visit will become a milestone for the U.S.-Japan relationship as it will be the first official visit of a Japanese prime minister to Washington since 2006. In today’s fast-changing international environment, building a more robust relationship based on alliance becomes increasingly more important for both the United States and Japan, especially when taking into account their developing economics and their eagerness to build a new international order.

A variety of issues will be addressed during this visit, including new defense guidelines, the reactions to new regional and global environments, the new alliance framework and so on. Among all of these issues, the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be one of the most essential topics of discussion without doubt.

TPP is an Asia-Pacific regional regulatory and investment treaty. As of 2014, twelve countries including Japan have joined the negotiation. It intends to enhance trade and investment relationships among all the members. However, because of sensitive issues including intellectual property protection, the final agreement has not been reached. Specifically for Japan, the opening up of its agricultural market is a particularly hard topic to touch upon.

The Obama administration sees TPP as a chance to promote trade and prevent China from establishing new regional rules. According to Michael Froman, chief U.S. trade negotiator, the TPP is “an opportunity to bind together a group that represents 40% of global GDP. ” However, Japan treats it more like a new global new standard but “not [an] exercise to counter China,” said Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae.

In fact, earlier this week, U.S. and Japanese officials had a long meeting in Tokyo, discussing trade and TPP. However, they failed to reach an agreement before Abe’s visit to Washington as they had expected. The areas of contention that are still remaining are in regards to the auto and rice imports of Japan because the reduction of tariffs would have serious consequences for Japan’s auto and rice industries. Nevertheless, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the differences on trade matters have “substantially narrowed.” Abe also commented that the two countries have reached “stage nine out of 10” in the discussions.

Feeling threatened by China’s establishment of the new China-led regional infrastructure bank, both the United States and Japan are behaving more aggressively in seeking a final agreement. Even the U.S. Defense Secretary was emphasizing the importance of TPP rather than military issues in a joint press conference with Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani on April 8, saying the deal was “as important to me as another aircraft carrier.”

There is no doubt that both countries will treat this upcoming visit seriously, given China has already attracted most of the US allies to join its new infrastructure bank. The problem is whether the remaining differences could be narrowed enough for the two countries to reach an agreement.

For more information:

Thanks for sharing !

Comments are disabled.