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U.S., Japan fail to close gap on rice, auto parts trade

57 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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57 Comments
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kick Japan out. They are being so selfish.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Kick out US corporate interests. They are being so greedy.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

If the tariffs on auto parts are dropped, there needs to be a method for reinstating them with heavy punitive fines if the Japanese suppliers are found to have been dumping their products on any of the markets included in the TPP.

(That goes for all products too, but Japanese manufacturers have a history of dumping products on the American market!)

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@Yubaru

Japanese manufacturers have a history of dumping products on the American market!

But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency. For example, many Japanese companies save money by aquiring the entire vertical supply chain. It means they have more room to lower their prices and still make a profit in a competitive market. However, American companies (who don't make those supply chain investments and buy materials at full price) then claim that Japanese companies are dumping their products below the cost of production... below American cost, yes. Below actual cost, no.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Very reasonable of Japan to expect the US to wipe the crippling 2.5% tariff on autos while dropping the tariff on US beef to a tiny minuscule 27.5%. Perhaps other countries should impose export tariffs on food sent to Japan to compensate. Better still kick both Japan and the US out of the TPP until they play fair.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can only pray that Japan is kicked out of TPP talks. Anyone who thinks they will benefit anyone other than large corporations is fooling themselves.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Better still kick both Japan and the US out of the TPP until they play fair.

Indeed

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency

Japanese manufactures were taken to court and heavily fined for dumping computer chips in a joint industry effort to undercut American manufacturers and that is just one example.

Google it and you might be surprised it isnt efficiency but breaking the law and prior trade agreements.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@M3M3M3"what Americans call 'dumping' other countries call efficiency."

Well said !

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I agree with strangerland. Like, why would you come up with such a scheme of "trade pact" if it is not to your own benefit? Japan got a husband for life like it or not.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No surprises from Japan. These are the two most price-fixed industries in Japan. Price fixing is illegal in other countries, but in Japan it is economic policy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Japan should never have entered in these TPP discussions. Pull out now!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

M3M3M3

But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency.

Nearly always what Japan calls 'protection of sensitive markets', others call 'neo- mercantilism'.

Japan has to realize that the Japanese 'exceptionalist' excuses of old are not going to wash anymore and that they either sign up to the conditions that were established before Japan joined the TPP talks, or pack up and go home.

Personally I think there's a lot of smoke and mirrors taking place with these talks and knowing something of the workings of METI - I know some of the people who were in the negotiations with Singapore about their EPA with Japan and the whole thing nearly collapsed because of Japan's objections to importing Goldfish. As for the EPA with Australia, the Japanese really think they bent over backward with their measly cuts in Australian agricultural tariffs because the bigger political picture was Australia is seen as a natural ally for Japan against China - I think the differences that remain between the US and Japan are much bigger than just rice and auto parts.

Japan sucks at negotiations, using the same old tactic of stating their case, listening to the opinions of the other, and then restating their original case verbatim.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"...failed to close the gap, though both said they had made significant progress." What a load of poli-speak. And as for Japanese companies dumping their products in North America (both Canada and the US), check out Konica photo equipment (when it was still made) - they blew an entire very large market when they did that, a few decades ago, and caused this oft-published photographer to throw his two camera and four lenses in the trash. Indeed, this story is about more than rice and auto parts; it's about hidden agendas, wrapped up in flags.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

check out Konica photo equipment (when it was still made) - they blew an entire very large market when they did that, a few decades ago, and caused this oft-published photographer to throw his two camera and four lenses in the trash

You threw away perfectly good camera equipment because of trade policy??????

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

At the outset of the TPP talks, Japan identified five categories of agricultural products as “sensitive,” given its longstanding protections for politically powerful farm interests. They include beef and pork, wheat and barley, sugar, rice and dairy products.

Politics aside, the area where the average Japanese consumer could potentially gain from joining TPP was in imported food prices. But, in their infinite wisdom, Abe and the LDP have taken them off the table. Glad those folks don't represent me.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Politics aside, the area where the average Japanese consumer could potentially gain from joining TPP was in imported food prices.

Accompanied by decreased food security and the destruction of most of Japan's ag sector. Japan will never be able to compete with low population density, low labor cost countries in agriculture.

No thanks.

Glad those folks don't represent me.

Then why are you here?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Man I would love to have lower prices on meat, dairy, and rice. I love Japanese rice but I also like long grain rice... Would be nice if that stuff was cheaper!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Once 'IF' the American rice has entered the Japanese supermarket, the Australian rice will follow and until the end the food supply of to Japan will be monopoly by foreign countries especially the United States , so the TPP has an unspoken mission is to control Japan's food!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Accompanied by decreased food security and the destruction of most of Japan's ag sector. Japan will never be able to compete with low population density, low labor cost countries in agriculture.

Pandabelle -- agreed. Then Abe and the LDP should just stop playing games and pull out of the TPP negotiations, and have the guts to get on TV and tell the 97% of the population that is paying ridiculous amounts for food, that they will not be given the choice of cheaper imports, for the reasons you mention. The 3% has won again.

Then why are you here?

Thankfully, I'm no longer in Japan paying top-tier prices for beef, pork, dairy, rice, etc. for third-tier quality.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

This action show no faith in Japanese people, that the Japanese will not support home grown and produced products. The Japanese are nationalist to the bone. That is the first hurdle imports will battle. The next field they will have to compete in is presentation and advertising they product. Then they have to battle with placement on the shelves with other popular and genetic brands. The imported produce will have to taste better or the same, another area they will find hard to challenge. Also Japan ALREADY have a deal with Australia with beef, rice and diary in return to have Japanese car imported tariff free into Australia.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

American rice tastes like bleep! The Japanese people want yummy tasting food. American brand cars are too big for the Japanese consumer, like where am I to park it? Second the JCI costs too much money.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

taste is subjective, no need to get nasty about it YuriOtani, sheesh.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One word: YEAH!!!! Japan does not need US neoimperialism.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

jerseyboy

Then Abe and the LDP should just stop playing games and pull out of the TPP negotiations

They won't this is their baby.

tell the 97% of the population that is paying ridiculous amounts for food

Food's not that expensive in Japan. Can eat meals for similar prices as I could in the US.

that they will not be given the choice of cheaper imports, for the reasons you mention. The 3% has won again.

Ridiculous and elitist. Such short term thinking. This sort of "reform" would damage working class Japanese in the medium and long term. Food prices are just a tiny sliver of the issue.

Thankfully, I'm no longer in Japan paying top-tier prices for beef, pork, dairy, rice, etc. for third-tier quality.

Then why are you here complaining about something that doesn't affect you? I don't go on New Jersey news sites and complain about New Jersey politics.

And "3rd tier quality" is ridiculous.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Accompanied by decreased food security and the destruction of most of Japan's ag sector. Japan will never be able to compete with low population density, low labor cost countries in agriculture.

You and others here talk like Japan has food security now. That is downright false. Japan can not feed the population NOW and anyone who thinks otherwise had better wake up quick and stop taking the medicine the government is feeding you.

The average Japanese consumer over pays for just about every single food product in any given grocery store, due not only to production problems, but infrastructure and middle-men who take a huge cut of the profits.

The consumer will get lower priced groceries, thereby freeing up household money for other purchases and increased spending will eventually pull the economy out of its decades old doldrums.

The TPP is not just about America, there are plenty of other countries involved too and they will be able to compete in the Japanese markets as well.

Free-trade and inter-linked economies bring other intangible benefits as well, and folks should quit being so short-sighted. Japan can not sustain itself and that is a fact, the aging population just proves too that there will be less and less people to fill agriculture positions and then the folks here who are screaming for Japan to not agree had better be prepared to get their hands dirty and go work as farmers, because if you win, that is the future.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I'd like to know what the rules are about importing Gmo products? Im sure all the rice from the U.S. will be G. E. As Far as I know Japan does not grow G. E. rice, but does import some produce that is. Keep the GMO'S out of Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan wants greater market opening for its exports of autos and auto parts. The U.S. hopes to export more rice, pork and other farm products to Japan.

Japan has already signed with Australia for trade agreement. Unlike US, AU is not demanding Japan for importing more rice which will be over supply and wasteful in the long term. Many Japanese are eating like westerners now. Au exempted rice and chilled beef for agreement. Therefore Japan does not need to give special treatment for any other nation.

Japan needs to have own food security if US rice farms have been damaged by natural disaster. According Fukushima experience, US rice may be contaminated with nuclear radiation in the future. US has many nuclear power stations and prone to earthquakes. When Japanese people buy the rice, they should be careful about the supplier whether it is using nuclear energy or not.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan can not feed the population NOW

So you want to make that situation even worse?? Boggles the mind.

The average Japanese consumer over pays for just about every single food product in any given grocery store

According to you.

The consumer will get lower priced groceries, thereby freeing up household money for other purchases and increased spending

Which will be offset and then some by the unemployment created by putting farmers, fishermen, logistics people out of work. Great idea.

pull the economy out of its decades old doldrums

You say "pull the economy out of the doldrums", I say "cause rapid increase in income inequality like is happening in the west".

Free-trade and inter-linked economies bring other intangible benefits as well

Yeah, like decimation of agricultural sector and manufacturing base. I guess the folks working at the investment houses are pretty happy, though.

Japan can not sustain itself and that is a fact

People have been screaming this nonsense for at least 25 years. It's not true now, it wasn't true then. Japan is and will continue to be just fine.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Kick Japan out! The US is now headed for talks with SK, and when they make a lot of progress there Japan will be suddenly eager to close the gaps a little more. Well, by Japan being eager I mean they'll say, "Please understand. Please cooperate!" and ask that they be an exception and the US drop the relatively small tariff on Japan's automobile exports while they 'understand' Japan MUST keep the 700% tariff on American agricultural imports. They simply must!

Slap additional tariffs on Japanese exports and watch them complain about how unfair it is.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency. For example, many Japanese companies save money by aquiring the entire vertical supply chain. yes and how is that any different from American agriculture, Japan is good at supplying auto parts, but as soon as America wants in on Japan agriculture theyre crying foul, hypocrites much. time for Japan to be shown the door. when all the rules have been made they can decide if they want in then.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Whether the japanese right-wing economists like it or not, opening up a free trade deal across the pacific will go a long way to recusing Japan's economy by increasing spending on cheaper imported goods, thus making the sales tax rise actually mean something. As it stands now, they increased sales tax by 3% and sales have dropped from 5% to a staggering 25% in some sectors. Mitsukoshi for one has seen a 25% reduction in sales since the tax increase. This cultural economic protectionism is what is driving Japan's economy down the toilet. Let it go Japan and learn the true meaning of economic globalization!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This cultural economic protectionism is what is driving Japan's economy down the toilet.

I thought it was demographics? Now it's "cultural economic protectionism"?

You know, the same "cultural economic protectionism" that was in place in the bubble years, except even more so?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Pandabelle: "I thought it was demographics? Now it's "cultural economic protectionism"?"

You act as though the two are mutually exclusive. It makes perfect sense that as the nation ages, it makes NO sense to protect the aging agricultural industry, which is not enough, and incredibly inefficient as it is, to feed the population. BOTH are contributing to Japan's problems, and you trying to suggest Disillusioned is backtracking on one statement or another is simple deflection of the fact that you cannot disagree with what's been said.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

According to you.

Yeah me, I do a majority of the shopping in my home.

People have been screaming this nonsense for at least 25 years. It's not true now, it wasn't true then. Japan is and will continue to be just fine.

With an again population, a younger generation that has little to no interest in getting their hands dirty? I get the impression that you are living in the bubble.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency

"Dumping" means to sell goods even at a loss so as to drive a competitor out of business, and then recoup the money you lost when you become the main producer. Sorry to say, but Japan was a fervent practitioner of dumping in the 70's and 80's. Funny now to see that China and others dishing it back to Japan, but you reap what you sow.

Food's not that expensive in Japan. Can eat meals for similar prices as I could in the US.

Food is outrageous in Japan. The Japanese spend about 12% of their income on food, Americans spend 4.5%, Europeans pay a little over 5%. In America, fresh corn is about 1/5 what it is in Japan, dairy product are about 1/2 as much as Japan, and rice is as much as 1/10 what it costs in Japan. Your typical McDonald's meal is about 1/3 more in Japan than it costs in America. A baguette in Paris is about 90 cents, in Tokyo it is more than 300 yen. And I am tired of not being able to buy butter at the grocery store, Japan is the only developed country in the world where you can't buy such a basic staple consistently.

More and more of Japan's farmland is uncultivated, famers are paid not to grow, or ar allowed tax subsidies on unused agricultural land, this is done to keep prices high, but ot also makes Japan even more dependent on food imports, as less and less food is grown here. Also, as old farmers die off, the land stops being worked. If subsidies and tariffs were eliminated, this vacant farmland would have to be culitivated, as Japanese farmers would have to compensate for lower food prices by increasing their yields.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I, for one, would welcome cheaper exported rice into Japan. While I love Japanese rice, it's consistency gives a lot of people constipation, which leads to a lot of stress, which leads to uptight attitudes, which leads to people leaping in front of trains.

Also, I'd like to see more Indian restaurants actually use Basmati rice instead of Japanese rice. Chinese fried rice should be made of jasmine rice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

no surprise. TPP talking shop a waste of time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If TPP had been any good, there would have been agreement LONG ago.

The fact that it's taking all this time is just one indicator.

The TPP is bad news for EVERYONE except the shareholders in huge and sadly unethical "food" magnates.

http://www.nature.com/news/widely-used-herbicide-linked-to-cancer-1.17181

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You know what is funny in a totally sad way? The folks against the TPP and agricultural imports into Japan are just regurgitating what JA (Japan Agriculture Collective) is fear-mongering and over sensationalizing here in Japan.

FACT: Japan currently imports over 60% of the food it needs to feed the population.

<Japan's agricultural imports (nearly $60 billion in 2013) make it the world's fourth-largest importer, after the United States, China, and the European Union. Based on total calories consumed, Japan imports about 60 percent of its food each year. Japan is the fourth-largest market for U.S. agriculture, accounting for $12.1 billion . The United States is the leading agricultural supplier to Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japan wants greater market opening for its exports of autos and auto parts. The U.S. hopes to export more rice, pork and other farm products to Japan''

Isn't USA the one who want to export GM, Chrysler and /FORD cars to Japan?

According to this info, Japan want to export Right side handled cars to USA. Maybe Japan want to mini cars to tall USA people?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Then why are you here complaining about something that doesn't affect you? I don't go on New Jersey news sites and complain about New Jersey politics.

Pnadabelle -- you really don't get the concept of TPP and/or international trade. I am "complaining" because, in theory, if Japan were in TPP, I could enjoy the benefits of cheaper prices of Japanese products here -- like autos. But, since Japan refuses to open their agricultural markets, which will kill the cahnces of the TPP getting approval here by Congress, that won't happen.

And "3rd tier quality" is ridiculous

Actually, it is not. I lived in Japan for over ten years, and the quality of their beef (ex: Kobe), pork, fruit (like apples), and especially dairy products (yogurt, cheese, skim milk, butter (if you can get it)) is appallingly bad given the prices.

So you want to make that situation even worse?? Boggles the mind.

No, what "boggles the mind" is that a country that is only 40% self-sufficient for its caloric needs has put itself in a position where it possibly cannot join TPP, and thus enjoy the benefits of cheaper options, because it let a political system/party and the agriculture bureaucracy, hold the population hostage. Japanese agriculture should have been reformed decades ago -- South Korea did it. But that would have lost support for the LDP. So the 97% takes it in the shorts, so fat cats can keep their places in the Diet. Great country.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan wants greater market opening for its exports of autos and auto parts. The U.S. hopes to export more rice, pork and other farm products to Japan''

If above article is true what Japan wanted to export Japanese autos and auto parts to export to USA.

And USA want to export rice and other famr products to Japan.

But I don;t think this is the case.

If this info is true, no wonder talks collapsed. Both side does not know why they are talking. They don't know what their countries want to export.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In Japan we say rice is not just product but culture and therefore we must protect.

I always wonder. motor cars had been American culture and still they opened their market to the world, and Japanese cars have been everywhere in America since early 80's. And today we don't think GM, Ford or Chrysler as representatives of US business. I don't think it's fair to say rice is different.

Besides, I used to live in America and know that American rice is as good as Japanese rice. American farmers did SUCH GREAT JOB developing the quality of their rice as good as what we have in Japan that was developed in nearly 2000 years.

As a consumer I want opportunity to buy California Rice in Japan. Just like we don't only enjoy Italian wine or French wine but also Chile wine or California wine, it's a natural thing to happen.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is too much of a rush. Do the negotiations right and not quickly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bscon used to be created from pork. However, because USA people are getting fat, instead of pork, many bacon makers now market turkey bacons, Maybe pork sales are down in USA?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And USA want to export rice and other famr products to Japan.

More.....products.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If this info is true, no wonder talks collapsed. Both side does not know why they are talking. They don't know what their countries want to export.

The talks have collapsed because certain groups want protection, they don't want to compete. These groups think that ordinary consumers like you should be forced to pay higher prices for goods so that they can earn higher profits. It is not about culture, or food self-sufficency, it is about money, mainly, how much of your money they can get. These groups (especially in Japan) have more power in government than ordinary people. A Japanese farmer's vote is counted 2.3 times, meaning they have more than twice as much political voice as people who live in the city.

Japan is now 50th in the world in rice consumption, even though rice is part of the Japanese culture. Why do the Japanese eat so little rice nowadays? Probably because rice costs far more in Japan than any other country in the world. What is really fair? That you can get affordable rice to feed your family? Or that 99% of Japanese must pay far more for rice so the 1% who are farmers can make more money? And of course, rice is not the only food product which is priced very high. Don't you think that the high cost of food in Japan is one of the reasons that people are having fewer children?

Japan is in a deflationary cycle because things in Japan are too expensive. So people buy less, and, they also have fewer children. Both of these cause consumption to decrease, putting downward pressure on prices and wages. Trying to keep prices artificially high makes the problem worse, especially when it is for goods like food which people need to survive.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@sangetsu: This is Japan and USA talks. Yes, Japan has low birthdate Have you checked USA birth rate?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interesting how almost every comment on this post is thumbed down. It's as if nobody likes anything that anyone else has to say.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Interesting how almost every comment on this post is thumbed down. It's as if nobody likes anything that anyone else has to say.

First it shouldn't matter, but if you want the truth it's not a game really and it just goes to show how divisive the subject is.

I would just hope that the people who are against it do so for reasons other than the ones they are posting that are just regurgitating propaganda and not based on reality.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yubaru

just regurgitating propaganda and not based on reality

Of course the thumbs down don't matter. It's just interesting, that's all. I'm not regurgitating propaganda at all, i've come to my own conclusions over decades of thought on the matter (ever since NAFTA was passed so long ago).

sangetsu

Japan is now 50th in the world in rice consumption, even though rice is part of the Japanese culture. Why do the Japanese eat so little rice nowadays? Probably because rice costs far more in Japan than any other country in the world.

Probably because the Japanese diet is very well diversified these days. People aren't avoiding rice because rice is expensive, they just eat different things more these days.

jerseyboy

if Japan were in TPP, I could enjoy the benefits of cheaper prices of Japanese products here -- like autos

The vast majority of Japanese autos sold in the US are made in the US. Tariffs don't come into play.

the quality of their beef (ex: Kobe), pork, fruit (like apples), and especially dairy products (yogurt, cheese, skim milk, butter (if you can get it)) is appallingly bad given the prices.

I don't know where you shopped at, but Japanese produce and dairy are AMAZING. The apples you get in Japan are relatively expensive, yes, but far better than what is on sale in the US (on average). If you mentioned tropical fruits like mangoes I would tend to agree, but Japanese apples beat US varieties, hands down. And dairy? Again, fairly expensive, but really high quality.

I wonder where you did your shopping, or how long ago you lived here.

But that would have lost support for the LDP. So the 97% takes it in the shorts, so fat cats can keep their places in the Diet.

This makes no sense. The LDP are the big supporters of the TPP, groups like Kyosanto are opposed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The LDP are the big supporters of the TPP

In reality this is not true, and you know why? It's the agriculture collectives that have kept the LDP in power for generations, they are only backing it in public because of Abe, but their constituencies are totally against it and if they lose their subsidizes the LDP from agricultural areas are or could be in big trouble.

However I bet the government finds some other way to put money in their pockets to keep them in the fold.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is Japan and USA talks. Yes, Japan has low birthdate Have you checked USA birth rate?

America's birthrate is below replacement levels, but the population in America will continue to grow into the second half of this century. Japan'a population will decline by at least one-third over the same period.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

America's birthrate is below replacement levels, but the population in America will continue to grow into the second half of this century. Japan'a population will decline by at least one-third over the same period.

You have to consider the source when answering or commenting on her responses. Facts don't matter.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Rice: Sake brewery corporation will purchase for their sake brewery business because CA short grain rice will be imported.

Cars - unlikely to import Mich automaker products.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

American rice taste bad! Remember being force feed it as a child and young adult. It is dry and just yucky! Really what will Japans farmers do when forced out of farming? What about car parts, how will young people get jobs? People need jobs or income to survive. Japans top 1 percent have been corrupted by western values. In the west it is each person for themselves! The TPP will ensure dependance and dominance of Japan by the USA.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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