politics

Japan negotiator: TPP trade deal with U.S. doable by spring

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How much does anyone want to bet that they try to push through a deal before Abe visits Washington?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Please no. The TTP will only serve the 1%.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

sensitive issue of dismantling protections?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

for talks beginning Thursday on the politically sensitive issue of dismantling protections for Japan’s farm products and for U.S. autos and auto parts.

“We really have to wrap up the negotiations in spring. Now, we are discussing, what is the end of spring? Is the end of May the end of spring? Or early June, which is summer?”

No wonder these talks have gone nowhere. The U.S. wants to tackle the 800 pound gorilla in the room -- Japan's agricultural protection -- and Japan wants to debate the definition of "spring". Japan is simply doing what myself and many other posters predicted when Japan was first invited into the negotiations a couple of years back -- they are simply following the age-old Japanese negotiation strategy -- stalling in the hopes that Obama will get so desperate he caves in on agriculture. Actually, I hope Obama gives Abe a "drop-dead" date to get an agreement to conclude negotiations when Abe visits Washington in April/May, or recommend that the TPP go on without Japan.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Even after TTP, Japanese government could advertise "Buy Japanese" campaign. Most Japanese, especially seniors probably buy only Japan made products already.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Damn those 4 seasons DAMN you I SAY!!!

The yanks had better not let Japan off the hook again this is getting ridiculous, Japan has enjoyed massive success worldwide wrt auto industry meanwhile for all these decades have thwarted any & all imports of food items that are grown locally, especially rice. Japan only allows stuff it doesn't grow & imports from the southern hemisphere when winter gets in the way of growing here.

I hope the US doesn't cut Japan yet another break like its always done.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Dismantling protection and manipulative profit, is the aim of the TPP, there's nothing free about this "free trade" agreement. Why would we want a deal that only serves the top 1%?

jerseyboy: I hope Obama gives Abe a "drop dead" date to get an agreement. Unfortunately that won't happen, the US needs Japan and each side will push as long as they can. Sadly, this deal will go through and average citizens will have zero say of the entire process.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TPP=US neo-colonialism/neo-imperialism

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan's automakers have done very, very well in the US market, even with existing tariffs on imports. On the other hand, Japanese agriculture, the culture and economy of local food production, the very survival of rural communities, will be gravely undermined if this country's small farmers are forced to compete with industrial-scale agriculture in TPP nations such as the US, Canada, and Australia.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

GW

Toyota, Nissan, Honda, etc are all made at their host countries including various parts and conponents. Now how many foreign auto manufacturers have fatctories in Japan? A big fat 0 .

All those manufacturers employ local people to help develop the local community. Now again how many foreign automanufacturers are hiring Japanese factory workers? Again a big fat 0 .

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

SamuraiBlue

All those manufacturers employ local people to help develop the local community. Now again how many foreign automanufacturers are hiring Japanese factory workers? Again a big fat 0 .

its exports of autos and auto parts, Oe said, noting that they account for a combined 40 percent of Japanese exports to the U.S.

The statistics speak for themselves and this really isn't about auto exports, but the domestic steel industries in both the USA and Japan. The USA steel industry wants the Japanese automakers to make more of auto parts in the USA and the Japanese steel industry, which is internationally incompetent, wants them made in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan only allows stuff it doesn't grow & imports from the southern hemisphere when winter gets in the way of growing here.

Not true. There have been significant imports to Japan of soy, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, oranges (just off the top of my head). The only significant crops that are really protected are rice and apples. And, frankly, the USA is not competitive in rice, as the water resources used to make this water intensive crop are not sustainable (i.e. the true cost is not reflected in the product).

So the US sells a few more apples. America's competitiveness in agriculture is based on subsidies, the abuse of water resources and the use of illegal labor - none of it sustainable. So holding up the TPP because of agricultural restrictions only makes significant sense if you think of Monsanto. They have a lot of influence in Washington, and would love to force Japan to accept their patented GMO seeds. Aside from the giant Monsanto, holding up the TPP agreement because of agriculture makes no sense. It's like refusing to sign a great job contract because the office doesn't supply free coffee.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Most Japanese, especially seniors probably buy only Japan made products already. yeah but when TPP countries that make quality safe foods start importing tariff or low tarriff goods Japanese will eventually understand just how much theyve been ripped off over the years. if the Japanese product is far superior then JA have nothing to fear. but they know that isnt so and are scared, so wish to keep these insulting high tarriffs in place

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Been there, done that, I heard the same thing two years ago. Japan will keep it's market closed until the day comes when their market is too small to interest other economies.

Once again, I couldn't find butter at the grocery store, I can't help thinking of "1984". Packages will now be reduced by 10% so as to increase the number of packages available, but while not increasing the overall supply. Silliness. Funny that such things should occur in a modern and developed country.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"Japan's automakers have done very, very well in the US market, even with existing tariffs on imports."

The US let it happen so you see the results.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not true. There have been significant imports to Japan of soy, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, oranges (just off the top of my head).

Commanteer,

Ehhhhh, no, sorry, while I could have worded my blurb a little differently I think you caught my drift. Soy beans...........if Japanese want to eat tofu they have NO CHOICE but to import & get this.........so they do, this is because Japan could never hope to supply what it wants to consume wrt soy, garlic, broccoli etc

Now when you consider rice or apples, WHOLE different ball game there, straight competition & Japan wants NONE of IT! And consumers suffer.

Look forget the TPP for a second, Japan is in DIRE need of agricultural reform JUST TO UP its percentage of self supply. BUT IT DOESNT DO ANYTHING in this regard, now for many decades, nada zip! When clearly it should have been improving local efficiency.

Sorry Japan doesn't have a leg to stand on in this regard, its massively selfish & the world doesn't want to take this crap from Japan anymore!

SBlue

Toyota, Nissan, Honda, etc are all made at their host countries including various parts and conponents. Now how many foreign auto manufacturers have fatctories in Japan? A big fat 0

Ok now, WHY do you think that is? From the 70s to present do you think Japan wanted any foreign investment by foreign auto makers???????????? Hint NO & a resounding NO at that!

Meanwhile US Cda Europe have been MUCH MORE OPEN in this regard, pretty simple really

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So we agree? Rice and apples? I have personally brought on 1000s of containers of onions during the onion season in Hokkaido. It wasn't because Hokkaido couldn't supply. It was because they were asking too much money and not offering the kids of onions that food processors needed. Since then, they've shaped up a bit and started to listen to their customers.

Agriculture needs reform in Japan? Sure does, I agree there too.

Selfish? Well, all countries are selfish - as they should be. But Japan is doing the bidding of a few rice farmers on the consumer's dime. The USA is doing the bidding of select companies (such as Monsanto), at the expense of consumer choice and health.

I still say that agriculture sales gained by a completely open TPP will be insignificant to the USA economy, which is why this shouldn't be a sticking point. It's odd the the US pushes it, and it makes me question who exactly is behind that push. As I said, I suspect it's almost entirely Monsanto (and a few apple farmers).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Now when you consider rice or apples, WHOLE different ball game there, straight competition & Japan wants NONE of IT! And consumers suffer.

Lol. The Japanese rice is cheap and tastes better than most other rice. Apples also are inexpensive and there are plenty of variety around. Please come up with some better examples, if they exist.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

commanteer.

it makes me question who exactly is behind that push. As I said, I suspect it's almost entirely Monsanto (and a few apple farmers).

You're way off mark.

The dairy industry - milk, cheese, butter - NZ, Australia, Chile and the US are pushing it.

The meat industry - beef, pork, sheep - NZ, Australia, Vietnam and the US are pushing it.

The wheat industry - bread and bread based products - Australia, Canada and the US are pushing it.

Japan is a famine for food choice. Consumer choice in Japan entails the choice of a thousand different pot noodles and which of a hundred varients of Chu Hi you're going to wash them down with. It reminds me of the old USSR, where I did a year university exchange in the 1980s.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The USSR you say? How awful! I guess I would have done OK there, as I don't feel particularly deprived at my shopping choices in Japan. I don't buy a lot of processed foods, which seem to fill the bulk of American supermarkets.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All the above comments deal with apples, oranges and rice...

Have you looked at how TPP will destroy the National Health System here? Do you still want to be able to choose your own doctors? Do you want to see the cost of everything in health care go up to satisfy the needs of profit of the huge American and European health insurance companies?

I say no to TPP!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

GW

It's not whether Japan wants it or not. It's whether foreign manufacturers wants to invest or not. In the 70's most of the famous foreign brands like Coke, Nestle, P&G,etc. took the dive and are now one of the leading brands within their industry. By the way the US automobiles were the largest imported brands in the 70's as well selling more then 400,000 units per year.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Isn't japan current strategy of fostering locally produced farm products a good one? It's green and wise. What's the point of buying foreign produced rice when there's plenty here? Oh maybe just to save few yen at the supermarket while Japanese farmers lose their living to South East Asia farmers? Is this really what we want?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Capital has no borders, but labor does. Workers can vote, but capital can fund the strongest interest groups to control trade and investment policies and treaties.

The TPP is a win-win-win (X 12) proposition. The problem is that the winners will be incredibly big winners in each of the parties, but the vast majority will win only a little, and more than a few will lose. If this were only about growing the pie, we should be for TPP, but if we believe in a more equitable and less managed, self-interested slicing of that pie, we should be wary. Labor and environment are not going to dramatically improve in, say Vietnam, just because the Americans put a fig leaf of labor and environmental standards into the agreement to try to win over some liberal votes.

Let the strongest win, let have some get a slice of bread, and spread some crumbs for the rest. The TPP will be a triumph of competitiveness. It will also be a triumph of cupidity.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What is the benefit of TPP (for the lower 99%, I mean)? The only positive thing I hear about is lower prices. Lower prices? Maybe in the short term until all Japanese farmers are out of business and Japanese lower-class workers lose their jobs. And then, the prices will go up again, because there is no “free” market, just multinational price-rigging quasi-monopolies and their proxies in your parliaments and courts.

Remember, they will never let the TPP be rolled back. Even corporations wouldn’t sign unlimited contracts, especially without knowing all the details and without the shareholders approval.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese brand automotives in USA are built in USA and Mexico. Letf side handle driving cars. Japan Inc does not export to USA. GM and FORD make same type of cars to export to Japan. Left side handle driven cars to narrow roads Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not true. There have been significant imports to Japan of soy, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, oranges (just off the top of my head). The only significant crops that are really protected are rice and apples. And, frankly, the USA is not competitive in rice, as the water resources used to make this water intensive crop are not sustainable (i.e. the true cost is not reflected in the product).

How about tariffs on beef of 50%? (38.5% to some countries).

Dairy products? 25%

Oranges, pineapples, bananas? 20% to 50%

Coffee? Tea? 20%

We also can't forget that 700-odd percent tariff charged on rice.

All of this adds to the prices of goods in restaurants and stores, perhaps one of the reasons Japan's population is falling is because feeding children is expensive?

As for Monsanto, BCS, and others, they are already large suppliers to Japanese farmers. Yes, Japanese rice is treated with the same fertilizers and insecticides used in America. JA contracts with American and European crop science companies to buy these chemicals, and monopolizes their distribution in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When I was dealing with it, the US had a 375% tax on Chinese garlic - they also have tariffs. Where they don't have tariffs, they have quotas. Almost all countries with agriculture have tariffs on imported foods.

Of course Japanese farmers use Monsanto products now. Monsanto is a huge global company, so that's not exactly news. However, there is increasing demand for non-GMO foods, as well as concerns about the effect of RoundUp, the most commonly used herbicide (also by Monsanto). A democracy would allow people to have choice in these matters, at the very least requiring GMO foods to be labelled as such, or for Roundup's use to be limited. With TPP in effect, such consumer concerns could (and probably would) be labelled as "trade barriers" by aggressive US lawyers.

Interesting you mention feeding children, as that is important to me as well. Look at the childhood obesity problem in the US - is that something Japan should seek to emulate? It's hard enough getting decent food in Japan, knowing that Fukushima produce is relabelled and sold around the country, and that Fukushima grain is used to feed dairy cows around the country. I don't want that to be complicated by the anti-labelling, pro processed food agenda of a few massive US companies. At least in Japan, I have some idea where the food is coming from, even with the lies. With TPP, there will be no need to lie, as there will be no labels indicating origin or cultivation methods.

Lots of good things in TPP, but exporting America's disastrous diet is not one of them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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