politics

Obama, Abe under pressure to salvage TPP pact

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By Krista Hughes and Linda Sieg

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Scrap TPP it's a total rip off for everybody but the superrich who skim money off the rest of us.

2 ( +7 / -4 )

I'd be surprised if congress ratifies TPP anyway.

In any case, TPP needs Japan for credibility. Having the 1st and 3rd largest economies will make it seem more balanced so I doubt it will be scrapped anytime soon.

Still, would love it if Abe decided to make his own grand Trade Agreement for the Asia-Pacific. Would be much more beneficial to Japan than the horrors that TPP could potentially bring, but it'd take more time to put together than this POS agreement.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Maybe if they actually told Japan what exactly is included in the TPP they'd be more willing to agree or realize its a complete sham and stop beating around the bush. But that's asking too much because even the US doesn't know what the TPP is exactly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scrap TPP it's a total rip off for everybody but the superrich who skim money off the rest of us.

YEAH!

Forget the fact that Japanese consumers will finally be able to pay reasonable prices for basic necessities, it's all for the super rich!

2 ( +4 / -3 )

TPP is not about bring reasonable prices to consumers. It's about creating US-based Corporate hegemony. You'll have to pass it to find out what's in it. Sound familiar?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Abe is not very smart ... so he will probably sign it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Scrap TPP it's a total rip off for everybody but the superrich who skim money off the rest of us.

My home state California is one of the largest exporters of produce. I mean, let's all pay outrageous prices for a bundle of grapes or apples. I feel like the super rich just shopping on a daily basis in Japan. Oh, and if you think Japan is NOT taking or skimming money from you in more than one ways than one, then you REALLY don't understand the meaning of getting ripped off.

3 ( +3 / -1 )

Recent trade pact with Australia,tells me that Japan is just not interested in opening it's markets to the USA.Aussie beef is practically a staple here,rice?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo is fighting to maintain import tariffs in five agricultural categories: rice, wheat, dairy, sugar, and beef and pork products.

Then they had no business joining the TPP talks. They stated everything would be on the table to get into the talks, and now they are doing just the opposite. Typical Japanese diplomacy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I hope Japan joins the TPP so that I can buy fruit and non-Japanese rice for a reasonable price.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Bones, what's the prognosis. Its dead, Jim...Its dead.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Scrap TPP it's a total rip off for everybody but the superrich who skim money off the rest of us.

And the 800% tariff charged on rice is not a ripoff? The The tariffs, duties, expensive hurdles on imports, and the lack of competition in the domestic market which further drives up prices is not ripping off or skimming money from all of us?

Is the fact that Japanese spend over 12% of their income for food, while America and Europe spend only 5% is not a ripoff? Is the fact that I have to pay 25% more for a Sony television in Tokyo than I would in New York not a ripoff?

Don't you understand the clear and simple fact that the "superrich" in Japan use tariffs to rip off every single person living here? Don't you see the cozy relationship that the agriculture lobby, big Japanese corporations, the bureaucracy, and the elected polticians share? and how all of us are being ripped off by them? Who profits from tariffs? Who pays for them?

7 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan needs cheap imports to boost public spending, but to join the TPP they will also have to scrap their farmer subsidies and price fixing of rice and other produce. But, at the end of the day, Japan does need the TPP regardless of what the old boys club thinks. In the long run it well help reduce Japan's ever-expanding public debt by taking the reliance off the government to support farmers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Nothing to salvage. It is a piece of US imperialism. Setting miminum US automobile imports? The US auto manufacturers don't put any energy into selling the cars they already have here.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nothing to salvage. It is a piece of US imperialism. Setting miminum US automobile imports? The US auto manufacturers don't put any energy into selling the cars they already have here.

Give me a break! Cars are NOT the only thing the U.S. sells.

@Disillusioned

Exactly!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why is everyone talking about money? If TPP passes in Japan, any corporation can SUE the Japanese government if laws hinder corporate interests. Now GMOs are banned in Japan. After TPP guess what? Monsanto will sue the Japanese government until GMOs are allowed. Only 1% of Japan's public water has fluoride in it. (Fluoride is a toxic waste that is illegal to dump into rivers but legal to feed to people who then piss it into rivers). I would MUCH MUCH rather pay more for food and goods than to have my health and freedom destroyed. Americans are too fat and have too many toys as it is. Need less, live better.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Wow, Kakurenbo, you said it!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Nail on the head, Kakurenbo! As I alluded before, TPP is all about expanding US Corporate hegemony under the ruse of reducing tariffs. US could easily lead by example of eliminating their tariffs first. For that matter, so could Japan's pols. But will they? H E Double hockeysticks No! Why? Because they both/all want power over the others. Why hasn't US offered to eliminate or reduce their own tariff on large trucks and buses? Same reason the rice import tariff of Japan is what it is. It's the same failed economic protectionist rationale as the 18th century mercantilists. Want to understand? Read Hazlitt's " Economics in One Lesson".

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Monsanto will sue the Japanese government until GMOs are allowed.

With good reason. http://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-board-directors-legally-mandating-gm-food-labels-could-%E2%80%9Cmislead-and-falsely-alarm

http://www.genetics.org/content/188/1/11.long

http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/Y5160E/y5160e10.htm#P3_1651The

Stop being clouded by the ignorant fog of lies the anti-GMO crowd feeds you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If TPP passes in Japan, any corporation can SUE the Japanese government if laws hinder corporate interests.

This ability to sue works both ways, and it is necessary to provide recourse if any party reneges on the agreement. Japan has a long history of finding ways to get out of complying to treaties and agreements they have signed. Japan refused to abide by the Geneva convention (which they signed) in the second war. After a trade agreement lowering the tariffs on imported cars, Japan immediately implaced additional inspection and distribution fees on imported cars. When Japan lost a WTO case to America regarding the import of rice, Japan imported the rice, and then let it sit at the port until it began to rot. When the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling was implemented, Japan stopped doing "commercial" whaling, and began whaling for "research" purposes instead. Now that the high court has ordered Japan to stop it's "research" whaling, Japan's diet is now trying to enact legislation to either disregard the world court's order, or to once again change the terms used to describe their whaling operations to get around the ruling. Unless there is a way to make Japan honor their agreements, Japan will always find a way of getting around them.

Obviously Japan does not care much about rulings from the world court, or WTO, and this being the case, how do you expect to enforce the terms of the treaty if Japan signs it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

the ignorant fog of lies the anti-GMO crowd feeds you.

As opposed to the hi-tech fog of lies the pro-GMO crowd feeds you?

If GMOs had a selling point, the manufacturers/producers should be falling over themselves to splash it all over their products, they should be shouting from the rooftops how great their stuff is, not muttering in a corner about the temerity of folk wanting to know what they're buying. Instead we get mealy-mouthed 'It's no different/it's just the same as the other stuff'. Right, then let me buy the other stuff.

Your first link goes on about how GM foods 'pose no greater risk' than other foods - I should darn well hope so. Foods that pose a risk shouldn't be in the shops anyhow. That isn't the point.

It also claims that GM labeling initiatives are being advanced by “the persistent perception that such foods are somehow ‘unnatural,’” as well as efforts to gain competitive advantages within the marketplace.

Well yes, when you go splicing genes and slipping bits of insects/bacteria into plants, then by definition that's not natural. I'm surprised they would even try arguing that one. As for the competitive advantage in the marketplace - from what I gather the advantage of GMOs is that they are easier to grow - require less chemicals, less labour, less water. To my mind that translates as cheaper at the point of retail. But the manufacturers/producers want to mix their cheaper produce in with conventional, i.e. more expensive, produce with no notice to the consumer. As far as I can see, that is GMO trying to gain a competitive advantage - trying to unlevel the playing field by hiding the true cost of their products and charging as much for their cheaper products as the conventional producers need to charge to cover costs.

Your second link goes on about how there isn't enough food to feed the world's growing population, and how GMOs are needed to keep us all from starvation. No one in Japan is starving to the point of needing to eat frankenfoods, and it's in America - where one in three of the population are considered to be obese - that we have all this fuss about labelling GMOs. It would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If GMOs had a selling point, the manufacturers/producers should be falling over themselves to splash it all over their products, they should be shouting from the rooftops how great their stuff is,

But they can't, because of ignorance.

GM foods 'pose no greater risk' than other foods. That isn't the point.

Yes, it is. People, out of ignorance, assume that GM food somehow harms their bodies due to being genetically engineered. This is a horrible, horrible lie. GMO food is safe, and is proven to be so. There should be no reason for people to be afraid of it, but out of ignorance, they are.

trying to unlevel the playing field by hiding the true cost of their products

Who's unevening the playing field, people trying to gain a competitive advantage by becoming more efficient and better at what they do, or the people trying to mislead consumers into thinking GMO foods need to be labeled because "unnatural" = unsafe, and playing into their ignorance?

No one in Japan is starving to the point of needing to eat frankenfoods

But allowing those "frankenfoods" into the Japanese market will allow the Japanese people (and me.) access to cheaper, equally healthy foods. Foods which are currently not allowed into the marketplace out of Japan's agricultural protectionism; a ban made possible by ignorance.

It would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic.

What's hilariously pathetic is your blind adherence to anti-GMO propaganda.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Under pressure by whom?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

they should be shouting from the rooftops how great their stuff is

But they can't, because of ignorance

Rubbish. Anyone else marketing any kind of product, no matter how worthless or similar to the competitors, hires a marketing team to inform the world why we the public should be buying their New Improved chocolate bar/toothpaste/mobile phone service/room freshener/deodorant. What stops Monsanto and pals doing the same and telling us all how wonderful GMOs are? Why don't they explain in TV ads and newspaper pullouts how good their product is, like other manufacturers do? Why don't they try to make us want their product? Maybe because what they are trying to sell has less appeal to the consumer than yet another toothpaste that's just the same as all the others.

People, out of ignorance, assume that GM food somehow harms their bodies due to being genetically engineered

I can't speak for all people, but a good number of us assume that there's something suspicious about GMO because of the way the very people who should be explaining its advantages to us and trying to sell it to us are instead trying to sneak it into our shopping baskets without our knowledge.

Who's unevening the playing field

I don't see anyone putting out advertisements claiming that their product is better than GMO.

But allowing those "frankenfoods" into the Japanese market will allow the Japanese people (and me.) access to cheaper, equally healthy foods.

No it won't, because without labelling you have no idea what you're buying, the manufacturers want to mix it in with conventional products and charge the same price. There is no benefit to the consumer from GMO, only a higher profit margin to the manufacturer. (The manufacturer being the huge agribusinesses , not (e.g.) the ordinary farmers who get sued by Monsanto when the wind blows GMO seed into their fields, nor (e.g.) the Indian farmers caught in a debt trap and driven to suicide through the high price of the GMO seed that they signed up for with promises of increased yields and are now forced to buy every year - with little to no increase in yield).

And we haven't even started on the effects of GMO crops on the environment, another reason more information, not less, may put folk off GMOs..

The issue is not with GMO foods per se; if I have the choice, I can choose whether to buy it or not, just as I can choose whether to buy white sandals or brown boots; but I'm not going to buy from a merchandiser who sells just 'footwear' and refuses to let me know whether I'm buying sandals or boots. I need to have the ability to make a choice, and that includes proper labelling.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What stops Monsanto and pals doing the same and telling us all how wonderful GMOs are?

They don't sell to consumers, they sell to farmers and businesses. B2B commerce is rarely television advertised. EXCEPTIONALLY rarely. I mean, does Apple advertise about the manufacturing process for the plastic they use in their iPhones? No, because no one cares, and no one should care, as long as the plastic does its job.

I don't see anyone putting out advertisements claiming that their product is better than GMO.

You can't honestly believe this. Every time you see an "organic" label, or a "natural" label, or a "no GMO used" label, that label is telling the consumer (untruthfully) that this product is superior due to its "natural" qualities, and that they should pay more for it for no reason.

I'm not going to buy from a merchandiser who sells just 'footwear' and refuses to let me know whether I'm buying sandals or boots.

Horrible analogy. This isn't a manufacturer failing to specify what footwear, this is a manufacturer putting footwear produced by different manufacturing processes yet with identical quality, durability, etc., next to eachother, and not explaining the difference in the manufacturing process. Consumers don't care and, honestly, don't need to know, as long as they both do their job. Putting that burden on GMO products is an unfair double-standard.

The international fuss about GMOs is nothing but a (not-so)well-disguised commercial move to try and counter the dominance of the American agricultural industry. It's protectionism for other countries domestic industries, because we do what they do better and more efficiently. Japan is more guilty of agricultural protectionism than most other countries, and Japanese consumers are paying the price.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

this is a manufacturer putting footwear produced by different manufacturing processes yet with identical quality, durability, etc., next to eachother, and not explaining the difference in the manufacturing process.

If one pair of footwear is produced by a manufacturing process that involves the exploitation of cheap/forced labour and/or irreversible and potentially devastating damage to the environment, and the other doesn't, then I want to know which is which so that I can make a choice. The two products are not the same, though the difference may not be apparent just from looking at the items side-by-side on the shop shelves.

the difference in the manufacturing process. Consumers don't care and, honestly, don't need to know

It's more than a little arrogant of you to decide what consumers should and shouldn't know about what they're being asked to buy. Granted, some don't care; they are the ones who probably don't read labels anyway. But in the past when the manufacturing process has involved child labour, forced labour and/or atrocious working conditions (sporting goods manufacturers are particularly notorious) and this fact has become known, consumer protests and boycotts have led to better working conditions, higher pay and greater transparency - though the problem has not been eliminated; as you say, some consumers just don't care.

Whether it's footwear, footballs or food, the consumer has the right to know what he's putting in his shopping basket.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/nov/19/jasonburke.theobserver http://www1.american.edu/ted/nike.htm

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You have dragged this so far away from the originl point, and aren't even addressing the arguments that are at the center of the issue here.

manufacturing process that involves the exploitation of cheap/forced labour etc.

I'm not talking about that, I'm talking about the scientific processes used to, for example, refine ores, plastic production, construction, etc. No one knows every detail of every working piece within their computer, the different metal compounds, plastics, etc., and neither do they care.

My point, which I would hope you'd have the decency to address rather than only the points you want to, is this: It is a well-established scientific fact that GMO foods have no negative impact on human health, therefore any government excluding them from imports are simply exercising protectionism from a country who has become better at doing something than they are. The TPP should not allow countries to exclude products on that basis, as it completely undermines the spirit of a free-trade agreement. Japan's ridiculous level of agricultural protectionism must stop, for the sake of its people.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

My point, which I would hope you'd have the decency to address rather than only the points you want to, is this: It is a well-established scientific fact that GMO foods have no negative impact on human health

And my point is that that isn't the only point. Why do you want to ignore the hardship caused by, not the GMOs per se, but by the agribusinesses selling them? Why do you want to ignore the fears over the impact of GMO cultivation on the environment? Why do you think anyone would want to buy produce grown in fields zapped by ever-increasing volumes of herbicide? Or produce that comes with its own inbuilt insecticide? Maybe it has 'no negative impact on human health' - but it still raises lots of unanswered questions and it's still gross, and I'd rather avoid it, thank you. If it takes action at the government level to keep it off my plate, I'm all for it. The government does precious little else for us.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please. From here on, posts that do not focus on the TPP will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why do you want to ignore the hardship caused by, not the GMOs per se, but by the agribusinesses selling them?

Why do you want to ignore the benefits from increased production leading to a greater ability to fight world hunger?

Why do you think anyone would want to buy produce grown in fields zapped by ever-increasing volumes of herbicide?

Actually, due to the development of GMO foods, there has been a strong trend away from environmentally persistent herbicides, thereby decreasing the dangers of runoff into water supplies. But, you won't find that information on www.monsantoistheantichrist.com.

Why do you want to ignore the fears over the impact of GMO cultivation on the environment?

Because they're unsubstantiated. I mean, just take a stroll down this page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food_controversies Every single time a paragraph begins with "Concerns were raised...", that paragraph finishes with " but those concerns were found to be unsubstantiated."

Maybe it has 'no negative impact on human health'

There's no maybe here. Science has spoken.

it's still gross

Your opinions are not facts.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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