Take our user survey and make your voice heard.
politics

Obama rejects notion that TPP deal is in danger

32 Comments
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
Login to comment

Japan should never have been invited into the TPP. Their and the USs recalcitrance on tariffs has led to nothing but the endangering of a trade pack for the other countries who are ready and willing to progress. Japan's desire to protect their massively expensive and inefficient agriculture sector is a joke - turf Japan aside and move on with the rest of the world.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Japan would be foolish to accept this deal. I can understand them having to deal with American pressure in a lot of areas. But, these are not stupid people. I can not understand their seeming desire to obligate the nation to America’s regulatory regime and open the nation. Even the J-government itself indicates the estimate of GDP increase during the first decade will only be marginal. Japan’s own math shows hardly any economic benefits to be had from joining the TPP, and yet proponents of the trade pact depict it as a boon for manufacturers. In other words, the TPP’s potential for growing Japan’s exports and expanding its economy is so small as to be negligible.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I know the US has its interests and demands, but...

I'm so sick of Japan's stance and their TPP negotiations. They'll stubbornly defend their farmers' stranglehold on the market and you know what, America does make smart, affordable cars with great fuel economy that have thrived even in Europe. American cars can sell well in Japan, if they are not priced out of the market in Japan just so the Japanese automakers can have an unfair advantage.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

“All of us have to move out of our comfort zones and not just expect that we’re going to get access to somebody else’s market without providing access to our own. And it means that we have to sometimes push our constituencies beyond their current comfort levels because ultimately it’s going to deliver a greater good for all people.”

Spot on. But will never happen because Japan is way too resistent to change and the LDP has built its power base in large part based on the agricultural community. As Jaymann says:

Japan should never have been invited into the TPP. Their and the USs recalcitrance on tariffs has led to nothing but the endangering of a trade pack for the other countries who are ready and willing to progress. Japan's desire to protect their massively expensive and inefficient agriculture sector is a joke - turf Japan aside and move on with the rest of the world.

Japan needs to understand that the TPP will never get past the U.S. Congress unless there are significant concessions in there. They have absolutely no political capital in Washington and this being an election year Congress is focused on delievering for their constituencies, and will only support TPP if it will add to U.S. prosperity.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Agreed, sfjp330, Japan would be foolish to accept this deal. It's totally one sided, which is why the US is so desperate to get it through. Their economy is on the brink.

What worries me is that this deal is being conducted with force. We, the people that it will affect the most, have no say in it, and cannot even express any opinion about it. We don't even know really what the negotiators are saying, because it's conducted in secrecy.

What we do know about it comes from leaks. What they show us is that the TPP gives government level power to huge corporations, that food will no longer be labelled so that we will have no idea whether it contains Genetically Modified ingredients and that what little freedom of speech we have remaining on the internet will disappear.

Yes, Japan would be foolish to go with this. But Abe might just be foolish enough to ram it through,

Then perhaps Obama will give him a pat on the head.

He'd like that.

-6 ( +4 / -9 )

@harvey pekar

You know that Korean auto maker Hyundai pull out entirely of selling cars in Japan. They make cars that are comparable in quality and gas milage to many of the Japanese manufacturers. If Hyundai cannot do it, what makes you think GM, Ford, or Chrysler can succeed in Japan? They will not buy regardless of TPP. I agree that U.S. makes excellent cars. U.S. has been trying to open the car market for last four decades, but it's a losing cause. Better for U.S. to focus on Chinese market. Much more profitable.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"I can not understand their seeming desire to obligate the nation to America’s regulatory regime and open the nation."

Believe me, the regulations aren't the main sticking point.

"They'll stubbornly defend their farmers' stranglehold on the market..."

Japanese agriculture is what's holding up an agreement.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Their economy is on the brink.

Bertie -- on the brink of what? Have you compared Japan's recent GDP growth with that of the U.S.? Respectfully your anti-U.S. bias is ignorent of the facts. The truth is Japan needs TPP economically much more than the U.S. does. Obama wants it because it supports his Asian pivot -- an economic element to match the military one. Abe needs it because his economic revival is sputtering, and opening up tariff-free markets to Japan's exports would definitely help.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The TPP will eventually get signed because the TPP is integral to both countries' hedging strategy against China. However, both sides need the "theatre" of tough negotiations to convince their domestic constituents.

Specifically, Japanese negotiators need to convince Japanese farmers that these negotiators fought tooth and nail for the Japan farm lobby, before throwing the same under the bus.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree with Obama about the comfort zone, but not how he interprets it. The U.S. needs to come out of its comfort zone and start to hire Japanese engineers to work for GMC etc and start making products that the Japanese will buy. Start doing what the Japanese are doing in the US. This is one reason other foriegn companies have been successful in Japan. This no brainer solution is a hard sell for an economy as big as the US. They dont want to waste the effort on it, China is easier as are the US domestics. Commodities require little if no modification, so they are an easy target. I think the manufacturing sector in the US would rather invite Japanese companies to their states instead of making any effort to target the Japan markets.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You know that Korean auto maker Hyundai pull out entirely of selling cars in Japan. They make cars that are comparable in quality and gas milage to many of the Japanese manufacturers. If Hyundai cannot do it, what makes you think GM, Ford, or Chrysler can succeed in Japan?

Hyundai pulled out because their cars were forced to go undergo individual safety inspections, a process which takes a fair amount of time per car, and which adds hundreds of dollars to the price. Individual safety inspections are not required for Japanese cars. Next, the main car distribution channels in Japan are controlled or partially owned by the Japanese automakers, and they charge themselves a low rate. Foreign car manufacturers must pay full price for distribution, and the full price is of course, decided upon by distributors, subject to the usual price-fixing schemes which exist at every level of business in Japan. Hyundai pulled out because the above practices put the cost of their cars at an uncompetitive level, and no one bought them.

American manufacturers have been angry with Japan for the above practices. Ford has produced three models which have been the top selling cars in the entire world. These models were cheaper, produced fewer emissions, and were built to American and European safety standards, which are higher than those of Japan. But the Japanese made sure that these cars would also cost too much to compete with the local makers. Right now, a car which would sell for $30,000 in America costs $50,000 or more in Japan. Yet a car which costs $30,000 in Japan will cost about $25,000 in America.

What worries me is that this deal is being conducted with force. We, the people that it will affect the most, have no say in it, and cannot even express any opinion about it. We don't even know really what the negotiators are saying, because it's conducted in secrecy.

The only force being employed is against Japan. All the other members of the treaty are ready to conclude the negotiations, and have agreed to the terms. In fact, the terms had been loosely agreed to before Japan decided it wanted to join the treaty. Force is being used only against Japan, because Japan has a long history of renegeing on trade deals, enacting non-tariff barriers, or redefinng rules and regulations to change the application of tariffs. Unless Japan is forced to obey the terms of the treaty, they might as well let them in without any conditions at all. Perhaps the tariff on rice is eliminated, and Japan implements a "food safety certification system" to inspect imported food, and the cost of this inspection raises the cost to the previous non-tariff level? Japan has done this in the past with other goods.

Japan needs to understand that the TPP will never get past the U.S. Congress unless there are significant concessions in there. They have absolutely no political capital in Washington and this being an election year Congress is focused on delievering for their constituencies, and will only support TPP if it will add to U.S. prosperity.

Japan has the world's most powerful trading lobby, and they have a lot of political capital in America. How do you think Japan has gotten away with all of the one-sided deals they have made in the past? How do you think they have been able to raise such formidable non-tariff trade barriers without facing sanctions from America or Europe? Many a former senator and congressman works for the Japanese trade lobby. The trade lobby may well get congress not to ratify the treaty if Japan does not get concessions, and force negotiations to continue.

Japan is trying to wear down the other members until they agree with Japan's terms. Japan has never, ever, in it's history concluded a trade deal which did not heavily favor Japan, and they are not likely to start now. And when I say "Japan's favor", I don't mean the people of Japan, I mean the big corporations and special interests who refuse to compete on a level field. The Japanese people mean nothing to the trade negotiators, indeed, the people have been under the thumb of Japanese industry and special interests since MacArthur was forced to let the zaibatsu come back to power.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why not forget Japan? Why not let China join negotiation of TPP instead of japan? China is more important than Japan about all trades. Japan would not join TPP under such a negotiation of US led agreement. Individual agreement between two countries seems to to much better for Japan than TPP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

paulinusaApr. 25, 2014 - 08:33AM JST Japanese agriculture is what's holding up an agreement.

I am not sure if the criticism of Japan is warranted for not importing enough agricutlural products. Japan already imports 60 percent of its food supply and food safety is a sensitive issue. In less than five years, goverment farm subsidies will be eliminated. By comparison, the U.S. imports about a tenth of its food supply and tests less than 1 percent of shipments. Sales of Chinese-grown produce are a tenth of what they were just five years ago, as most consumers do not mind more expensive Japanese products. Sure, Japan could import cheaper California rice, but what about rural farmers in Japan that will no longer will get goverment farm subsidies and they cannot survive. The J-goverment farm subsidies will be eliminated in a few years. Then what? The J-goverment's thinking is that they have to maintain a balance of future agricultral growth in their own country first.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

all this because some people want cheaper bananas rice...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

sangetsu you nailed it at 09:03!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese haven't got the slightest idea of what an open market is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You know that Korean Hyundai automaker pull out entirely of selling cars in Japan.They make cars that are comparable in quality

LOL! You have just made my day. Hardly anyone in Japan noticed that tragedy. Korean cars are worthless pieces of junk by comparison to cars made by Japanese auto makers.

Ford has produced three models which have been the top selling cars in the entire world.

I guess you have confused the USA to "the entire world". The entire world prefers to buy proven and reliable Japanese cars.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Bertie -- on the brink of what? Have you compared Japan's recent GDP growth with that of the U.S.? Respectfully your anti-U.S. bias is ignorent of the facts. The truth is Japan needs TPP economically much more than the U.S. does. Obama wants it because it supports his Asian pivot -- an economic element to match the military one. Abe needs it because his economic revival is sputtering, and opening up tariff-free markets to Japan's exports would definitely help.

@Jerseyboy

You're wasting your time. Bertie doesn't care about facts, he cares more about isolationism protectionism over a stagnant economy, dwindling population and out of control prices, particularly on the mainland. It MOST definitely would help, make produce more competitive. NOT to mention he only comments on JT if he can bash the U.S. on any occasion. It's NOT just about the U.S. All you anti-TPP are seeing things in the short-term form, NOT the long-term. With an ever growing aging society and the younger generation having less interest in farming, what is Japan going to do in the future. No one is talking or concerned about that it seems. As I said once before, has anyone bought a few apples or spinach or paprikas lately. The prices here are out of control and getting worse.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why not forget Japan? Why not let China join negotiation of TPP instead of japan? China is more important than Japan about all trades. Japan would not join TPP under such a negotiation of US led agreement. Individual agreement between two countries seems to to much better for Japan than TPP.

China has MFN status with America, and thus has little to gain with any other trade deal. Were there to be a true free trade deal with China, Japan would immediately stop any bickering and join TPP without any conditions.

I guess you have confused the USA to "the entire world". The entire world prefers to buy proven and reliable Japanese cars.

Nope, the Ford Fiesta, Ford's least expensive model, was the world's top selling car, it was replaced by the Escort, which was also the top selling car during it's production run. Volkswagen's Beetle was the top selling car for many years, but this car also was denied fair sales in Japan, and few ended up being sold here. The Ford Combi Van has been a fixture in Europe for the past couple decades, and can be found on roads everywhere, except Japan.

The Japanese haven't got the slightest idea of what an open market is.

A sad truth...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

has anyone bought a few apples or spinach or paprikas lately.

Makes me want to puke. Here in Niigata, 700-ish yen will net you SIX APPLES. SIX. COUNT EM, SIX. I would LOVE to dine on some delicious apples, but I'm not gonna pay those idiotic prices. The protectionism needs to stop.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The trade lobby may well get congress not to ratify the treaty if Japan does not get concessions, and force negotiations to continue.

Sangetsu3 -- dream on. You must have been out touch of the U.S. political scene for several years if you honestly believe that. Congress, especially the Republican house, is already skeptical of these big trade deals because of deals like NAFTA. In fact the headline in today's Washington Post was:

Why almost everyone hates the trade deal Obama’s negotiating in Japan

Japan has many more opponents in Congress than friends right now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan has many more opponents in Congress than friends right now.

I don't judge Obama or congress by what they say, I judge them by what they do. And more often than not, their actions belie their words.

The democrat party opposes TPP out of principle, they do not believe in unregulated free trade, or unregulated anything else for that matter.The republican party will oppose TPP if Japan is granted concessions, because if there are concessions, there is really no way to call the treaty a "free trade" agreement. In the end congress will do what benefits them. If the people also benefit, it is merely accidental. People make the fatal mistake of believing that politicians put the people's interest first, but this is seldom the case, unless said politician is up for reelection within the next year.

If you have enough money, you can get as many friends as you need. This has been proven in past trade deals with Japan, despite congressional rhetoric at those times.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Am I having hallucinations? I was just thinking that fresh produce prices are the lowest in years. There must have been bumper crops because of a long cool spring. And even though they are from cold storage, 700-ish yen for 6 apples is about the same price as they were 10 years ago, although I do get 4 for 350Y these days. I'm talking about greengrocer prices, not supermarkets where you have to pay their massive overheads and cartel transport costs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

700-ish yen for 6 apples is about the same price as they were 10 years ago

For contrast, a supermarket in my hometown in America has apples on sale for $1 a pound this week.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Am I having hallucinations? I was just thinking that fresh produce prices are the lowest in years. There must have been bumper crops because of a long cool spring. And even though they are from cold storage, 700-ish yen for 6 apples is about the same price as they were 10 years ago, although I do get 4 for 350Y these days. I'm talking about greengrocer prices, not supermarkets where you have to pay their massive overheads and cartel transport costs.

You are looking at deflation, which the government thinks is bad. Had there been 2% annual inflation for the past 10 years, rather than a like amount of deflation, your produce would cost at least 1/3 more.

When I was in America last summer, I bought a lot of groceries for cooking out. I bought sweet corn, which was five ears for a dollar, compared to the 200 yen which is charged for a single ear in Japan. I also bought tomatoes which cost per pound what is charged per tomato in Japan. One pound of beef was less than what 100 grams cost in Japan. But some masochists out there think that the 99% of Japanese who aren't farmers should pay two to three times what Americans and Europeans for food so that the 1% of Japanese who are farmers can get by.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hyundai pulled out because their cars were forced to go undergo individual safety inspections, a process which takes a fair amount of time per car, and which adds hundreds of dollars to the price. Individual safety inspections are not required for Japanese cars. Next, the main car distribution channels in Japan are controlled or partially owned by the Japanese automakers, and they charge themselves a low rate. Foreign car manufacturers must pay full price for distribution, and the full price is of course, decided upon by distributors, subject to the usual price-fixing schemes which exist at every level of business in Japan. Hyundai pulled out because the above practices put the cost of their cars at an uncompetitive level, and no one bought them.

Complete and utter BS.

https://www.mlit.go.jp/common/000997128.pdf

As indicated in the above link all cars go through the same procedure under (型式指定制度)except for some IMPORTED cars, there is a "Preferential Handling Procedure" for models that are low volume where they are exempt from the aforementioned procedure.

As to the rest of your paragraph, it's simply another way of saying that some of these foreign manufacturer don't want to invest the money to set up the network of their own distribution because they know that they'll never get their money back due to stiff competition among Japanese automakers in Japan. In essence, a NTB which these American automakers are calling for is actually another way of asking for ANOTHER "preferential" treatment by the Japanese counterparts.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

nigelboy Apr. 26, 2014 - 01:07AM JST In essence, a NTB which these American automakers are calling for is actually another way of asking for ANOTHER "preferential" treatment by the Japanese counterparts.

Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) are trade barriers that restrict imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. Although they are called "non-tariff" barriers, have the effect of tariffs once they are enacted. Japan use of non-tariff barriers has risen sharply after the WTO rules led to a very significant reduction in tariff use. Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade include import quotas, special licenses, unreasonable standards for the quality of goods, bureaucratic delays at customs, export restrictions, limiting the activities of state trading, export subsidies, countervailing duties, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, etc. Sometimes in this list they include macroeconomic measures affecting trade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) are trade barriers that restrict imports but are not in the usual form of a tariff. Although they are called "non-tariff" barriers, have the effect of tariffs once they are enacted. Japan use of non-tariff barriers has risen sharply after the WTO rules led to a very significant reduction in tariff use. Japan's non-tariff barriers to trade include import quotas, special licenses, unreasonable standards for the quality of goods, bureaucratic delays at customs, export restrictions, limiting the activities of state trading, export subsidies, countervailing duties, technical barriers to trade, rules of origin, etc. Sometimes in this list they include macroeconomic measures affecting trade.

Nope. Quota's for those "Preferential Handling Procedure" which I referred to earlier which as the word states, is a special preferential exemption exclusively for imported cars. Special licenses, are of course, not unique to any vehicle that does not conform to the domestic standards which is applicable to any place in the world. The "unreasonable" standards are subjective and full of baloney since the domestic automakers already adhere to them. Bureacratic delays would almost surface if the manufacturer did not comply with the paper work necessary for 型式指定制度 which applies for domestic auto makers as well. As to your rest that you stated, I won't bother answering since they are "N/A". This is what happens when you again, copy/paste the below link which defines examples of "NTB" which is not exclusive to Japan nor automobiles. Pathetic.

www.edhole.com/download.php?file_id=1012

What you have in essence stated are "excuses" and nothing more.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan sells 200 vehicles for every ONE vehicle that U.S. sells to Japan. I guess you can call it FREE TRADE? If I was a representative of U.S. goverment, I would cancel all trade agreement regarding automobiles with Japan. U.S. does not need any Japanese cars to survive. They have their own manufacturing and different brands. U.S. can survive without Japanese beer can cars that are extremely dangerous on U.S. freeways.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan sells 200 vehicles for every ONE vehicle that U.S. sells to Japan. I guess you can call it FREE TRADE? If I was a representative of U.S. goverment, I would cancel all trade agreement regarding automobiles with Japan. U.S. does not need any Japanese cars to survive. They have their own manufacturing and different brands. U.S. can survive without Japanese beer can cars that are extremely dangerous on U.S. freeways.

Trade? No. It's simply a matter of adapting by the Japanese auto makers to build factories in U.S.

During 1979, the president of UAW threatened Japan to either "limit the exports or to produce within U.S." which subsequently lead to UAW and Ford to request the U.S. government to act on the Trade Act Section 301. The request was reviewed by ITC but their decision stated that their failure was not due to Japanese exports but declining domestic demand and high gas prices which created a demand for smaller cars which the U.S. auto industry could not adapt.

During the early 80's under Regan, he tried to work on limiting the number of Japanese exports through legislation but with opposition from Secretary of Commerce and USTR at that time, the U.S. accepted Japan's self imposed export limit which lasted which lasted through the early 90's. (自動車輸出自主規制)  During this time frame however, despite efforts by Reagan to devalue the dollar (Plaza Accord), the Japanese manufactuers improved on their cost cutting/efficency production which resulted in high profit margins while at the same time built factories within U.S. where in 1994, the aforementioned self imposed export restriction by the Japanese government had become obsolete and useless.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

nigeboy,

If your so right, why don't you tell that to 60 U.S. senators who recently signed a letter that called on the White House to take a hard line in trade deals at Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

California grown Japonica rice is totally delicious, any Japanese would enjoy it thoroughly. BUT ... California is in the middle of a multi year drought so why is growing a water hungry crop like rice cheaper in dry California than water abundant Japan? Because of federal subsidizing or water transport and irrigation systems! (http://mises.org/daily/6568/Water-Subsidies-and-Shortages-in-the-American-West) Maybe rice is one area where the US could appear to adjust its bargaining position, while actually doing a favor for itself by saving precious water.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites