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Mexico Backs Japan's Bid To Join TPP Talks

by Mary Swire,, Hong kong

11 April 2013

During his recent visit to Tokyo, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto gave his country's support to Japan's bid to join the ongoing talks for an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan had applied to join the TPP negotiations, presently being led by the United States. Abe then professed (but did not make a prior commitment) that Japan would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table for trade liberalization, but its agricultural sector, particularly its rice, beef and wheat farmers, is concerned about the effect if its traditional protection is stripped away.

Before his visit, Nieto had also expressed concern about a possible Japanese attempt to win tariff exemptions for rice and other farm products if it was to join the trade talks. He had said that Japan should acknowledge that all TPP members are seeking to eliminate all tariffs on trade.

The TPP negotiations are well advanced, having concluded 16 rounds of talks, and it is hoped that they will be concluded by the end of this year. In that case, Abe probably has little time to change the market access clauses of the agreement that have already been concluded by the current participants – the US, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada and Mexico.

While Nieto's agreement is a start for Japan, all of those countries will need to approve its participation, before Japan can join the talks. With the US being the obvious leading country in that respect, and despite Abe's meeting with President Barack Obama last month, some in the US still have serious concerns about Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations, particularly regarding the automotive and insurance industries and Japanese non-tariff measures.

TAGS: tax | Brunei | Chile | tariffs | trade treaty | Australia | Mexico | Singapore | food | agreements | manufacturing | Canada | Malaysia | New Zealand | Peru | United States | import duty | trade | Japan | Vietnam

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