politics

TPP talks stuck on auto, drug and dairy issues

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“No TPP! Stop Corporate Greed.”

Yes, TPP. Stop Japanese corporate greed.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Yes, TPP. Stop Japanese corporate greed.

That's cutting off your nose to spite your face. The TPP will only put money in the hands of the corporations, further weakening the middle class. It is not good for the people.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

to setting up extraterritorial tribunals to settle disputes between governments and foreign investors

That sounds pretty ominous....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is just more the corporate greed. The agricultural issues go back a long way, at least to the infamous Doha Round. The gorilla in the room as far as Japan is concerned is the threat of a showdown on rice (liberalization). The US is also under a fair bit of pressure from its auto industry (and the unions involved in it), as well as big pharma that wants to squeeze every possible nickel out it its patents.

Considering all these issues, politics and issues of social conscious aside, a relevant question is whether no deal is better than a bad deal. Then again, from the Japanese perspective I cannot really see there being any attempt to move beyond the neo-merchantalism that has served it well for so long.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

China, however, has already begun trying to set up its own Asia trade agreement, which analysts worry could take concrete shape if TPP talks fail

The further development of China's Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere continues while other nations dither.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

a relevant question is whether no deal is better than a bad deal

Yes, no deal is better than a bad deal.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The TPP will only put money in the hands of the corporations, further weakening the middle class. It is not good for the people.

The money's already in the hands of the corporations. I'd like those Japanese corporations to compete with non-Japanese corporations. Then I can finally get my butter.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The money's already in the hands of the corporations.

So why would you want the TPP which will only put more money in their hands?

Then I can finally get my butter.

So you'd sacrifice the middle class for some butter? Strange priorities.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Just drop Japan from it already! If they want to allow a few old men who can't produce enough butter or dairy products to keep being supported despite their inability to produce enough to support the nation, they can keep trying to explain later why butter costs four times more than it does everywhere else in the world, why there are limits on things that are readily available, and why products continue to skyrocketed despite consumers not getting more money from the government. They can keep saying, "Shou ga nai, ne" when they in fact had plenty of choices.

Let Japan beg to be let in later after they've been left in the dust for a while. They want to put conditions on everyone else entering their market but be immune from any conditions and enter everyone else's. Forget it.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Bwahahaha! Japan is still trying to protect its coveted dairy industry. All farmers in Japan are heavily subsidized by the government. They are paid not to produce so they don't flood the market and keeps the price high. It's price-fixing at the highest level. This is why they will not open up to foreign produce like, rice and dairy products. Whether Japan is willing to admit it or not, they need this pacific trade agreement to increase spending and make the sales tax increase mean something besides a burdon on consumers.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If TPP is no longer about free trade, then they might as well stop wasting everyone's time. As usual, the bigger businesses and politicians are trying to bend things to their advantage. This means that in the name of protecting their economies, they will create as many exceptions and loopholes as they can. But they are not protecting the economy by forcing us all to pay more for everything we buy, they are protecting their own profits.

As an exporter, tariffs are a serious barrier to my business. The things I sell to Europe are subject to taxes from 20% to 50%, good going to developing countries are taxed at 50% and higher. None of the things I sell are produced in Europe or developing countries, so I am not "stealing" any business from these countries. As a result of these taxes and tariffs, I sell fewer things and make less money. If I sold more and made more money, I could produce and sell more, and hire help in the process.

So, as a result of taxes and tariffs, sell less, so I end up consuming less. And some of the things I consume less of are made in those countries which are charging the taxes and tariffs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@smithinjapan Dropping Japan is an interesting idea. This whole TPP model comes out of the earlier APEC model which was actually the brainchild of Crawford - Okita Dialogue years ago, which was subsequently picked up by Drysdale (among others) and then grew legs of its own.

Coming back to the more immediate past, however, Japan was pretty tardy in moving forward with the TPP framework a couple of years ago and nearly missed the deadline for membership. Unfortunately, its application in the end was made without it solidifying its position on many issues in advance. As such, they have been basically winging it for the last couple of years, thus slowing down the whole timeline.

Talking to people in the know, there are more than a few that are now regretting including a half-prepared Japan in these discussions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

extraterritorial tribunals to settle disputes between governments and foreign investors

Multinationals should be able to sue nation states in Liberia

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Multinationals should be able to sue nation states in Liberia...

I'm guessing you meant in Liberal democratic countries... if not, ignore the rest of this. Everyone should have the right to sue a government if they are wronged by that government, but these trade agreements are being designed to supersede national laws. Should a foreign company be allowed to sue a national government because that government won't let them go against local laws? No, no, and definitely no. I'm all for free trade, but I don't see a lot of freedom in this agreement, by all accounts. Kill it off, bury it, and let nations work out their own agreements for the benefit of their citizens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

a relevant question is whether no deal is better than a bad deal

The answer should be pretty obvious... so why is the question relevant?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm guessing you meant in Liberal democratic countries...

Thanks, donkusai. No, that's not my intention. There's an example at present where Japan Tobacco International is trying to sue the Irish govt. to prevent them introducing unbranded cigarette packaging to protect their citizens.

If such legal interventions can be made extraterritorially, what's to stop multinationals effectively bullying smaller nations in tribunals in "flag of convenience" third party states (Liberia was chosen for emphasis)? There are very serious sovereignty and hegemony (national or corporate) issues at stake.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NessieOct. 01, 2015 - 04:03PM JST The TPP will only put money in the hands of the corporations, further weakening the middle class. It is not good for the people. The money's already in the hands of the corporations. I'd like those Japanese corporations to compete with non-Japanese corporations. Then I can finally get my butter.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I want my butter too. The real problem as I understand it, is that the government imports butter with a very high tariff and then sells it on with a profit to food suppliers. The high price of butter, cream, cheese and dairy products makes all baked goods very expensive in Japan. Who wants to pay 500 yen for a slice of cake ? We like to bake but it is not worth spending so much on all the ingredients.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

“No one—at least no one from our side of the negotiations—should be in a hurry to close talks if it means getting a less-than-optimal result for our country,” said Republican Senator Orrin Hatch in a statement.

“If the agreement falls short, I will not support it.

Dude got my vote. Japan is one of the most unfair, protectionist whats yours in mine and whats mine is mine player out here. Time they let the U.S. and others in, and let Japanese have freedom to buy what they want in the marketplace.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Liberalized dairy trade in Japan? Oh, please, please.... It would be so much more convenient to buy cheese at the store rather than having to rely on FBC.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I had a dream about cheese, honest to god cheese, man. God, my mouth waters at the thought of the cheeses that could be at my fingertips at a reasonable price. Ooohhhh, the cheese!

On bread or pasta or fondue, on Italian or Mexican or Greek food, Jarlsberg, real freaking chedder or Swiss or Gouda or Muenster, oh, Muenster.

For the love of humanity, let us eat real salt of the earth cheese! Make this deal happen!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is the second good news I've had today, the first being that Abe stated Japan would not be welcoming "gimmegrants" resulting the the influx of the exedos from Syria, Afganistan, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all counties. However he has agreed aid of $1.6 bn.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I had a dream about cheese, honest to god cheese, man. God, my mouth waters at the thought of the cheeses that could be at my fingertips at a reasonable price. Ooohhhh, the cheese!

go to costco dude

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hi, @5petals

I don't live anywhere near a Costco here, dude.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

TPP talks suck on auto, drug and dairy issues

That's what I read it as.

But maybe that's closer to the truth

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Really wish TPP would start soon here in Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The original four nations involved SHOULD have finished the deal and created their own trade partnerships and only then add members ONE AT A TIME. The way it is now is a complete mess. Most people talking about optimum value for their own country don't seem to realise that it requires some give and take... and all of the nations involved seem to be the same in that way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The TTP is just not a good fit for the countries involved. Give it up already.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The TPP will only put money in the hands of the corporations, further weakening the middle class. It is not good for the people. J corporations have been fleecing the J public for decades, the TPP just opens up more competition to them. Just compare the price of Japanese made auto parts and cars sold in the US and Japan, the majority of them are cheaper in the US than theyre in Japan!. The TPP will expose and force big companies in Japan to compete with there overseas equivalents. Increased competition will only benifit the J consumer not screw them. but there are so many on here that have been brainwashed about the coming armageddon.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

J corporations have been fleecing the J public for decades, the TPP just opens up more competition to them.

And more opportunity for them to get rich off the backs of the people.

Increased competition will only benifit the J consumer not screw them.

Initially there may be an advantage to the common man. But it will not last long, and the average kousuke will end up with less purchasing power than he has now.

The TPP is only good for corporate execs. It's sad that people have been fooled into selling out all for some butter.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks go out to all those who contributed to the defeat of TPP. Corporations, beware! -- the people are on to you.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's sad that people have been fooled into selling out all for some butter. its much much more than just butter, its almost every agriculture product in Japan, while JA consumes more that 6% of the annual budget to keep the less than 2% of the economy afloat which is basically a welfare industry. How is that helping the middle class. All this BS protectionism from Japan just to help the 2% of the population, less than 1% of the economy, how is that fair for the taxpayer? While its off topic ,many of Japans rural citizens, votes are worth more than the prime ministers (1 vote 1 person). The whole system is rigged to help a tiny minority at the cost of the vast majority. This BS need to end, the TPP is just the starting point

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is the largest public sellout to corporations on the planet today. Congrats to all the PMs and Presidents paid by their public who turned around and sold out their constituents. I'm sure you'll be hearing from them soon

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We need to separate the desperate need for agricultural reform in Japan from the TPP, which is just a corporate charter that places them above the sovereignty of countries and the individuals living in them.

fwiw, I think that dairy in Japan is possibly a bigger joke than rice farming. Just a heads up, but my missus came home the other day with some shredded cheese sold as "cooking mix". Rather than being shredded cheap cheese, it's actually a bit of cheap cheese mixed with vegetable oil and other additives and fillers to approximate the feel of cheese. Needless to say, it tastes bloody awful. Japan is a rich country, so there is no need for such low quality processed food. I also suspect that the trans fats in processed food only create a long term burden on the health system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let Japan beg to be let in later after they've been left in the dust for a while. They want to put conditions on everyone else entering their market but be immune from any conditions and enter everyone else's. Forget it.

Exactly.

The TPP isn't going to happen folks. It just isn't.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sadly only once Japanese companies and farmers are sued internationally for access under TPP exclusive corporate tribunals, only then will the full context of the TPP be understood and how far it went. This will happen to all of the 12 former countries

1 ( +2 / -1 )

his is the largest public sellout to corporations on the planet today.

That depends on how you look upon it. Originally, TPP called for "zero tariffs on all items" by 2015. With there being no tariffs at all, how exactly to corporations benefit?

What those who oppose TPP fail to understand is that tariffs have nothing to do with protecting jobs or industries. Companies which do not want to compete will petition the government to limit the import of competing products, or tax them highly. This way the local companies can maintain or increase their profits at your expense. A consequence of this action is that since companies do not have to compete, they do not have to think of ways to be competitive, they do not innovate or adapt, and pretty soon they become entirely dependent on outside protection to stay in business.

Tariffs enrich the few at the cost of the many. In Japan, people pay nearly three times as much of their take-home salary for food as Americans pay, and nearly double what Europeans pay. 100% of Japanese people have to eat, but only 2% of Japan's economy is agricultural.

Last year JT printed a story showing that among Asian peoples, per-capita, the Japanese consumed the smallest amount of rice. I suppose this had nothing to do with the fact that rice in Japan cost 10 times as much as it does in other Asian countries? And because the price is so high, people consume less, so farmers either grow less, or have to increase prices farther in order to make a profit? Japan has very little arable farmland, but did you know that about 1/3 of that farmland is now fallow (uncultivated)? Higher prices have driven down demand. In other places lower demand would result in lower prices, and the price would fall until it reflected the fair value of the produce. But here in Japan prices remain high, and the supply reduced to maintain those prices. In Japan high food tariffs have resulted in fewer farms and farmers, and increased dependence on imported food.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

you are right but the cost is too high. The solution to tariffs were no subsidies in that market not removing all industries from countries to favour the lowest cost producer

In detail, by removing all tariffs it will take now more money, not less, in order to keep local industries and jobs, otherwise they are gone to the lowest producer in another country. You might have not liked the prices but the solution will be worse than the cure.

Japan is an exaggerated example and harder to gauge because of so many holes in its market given the super high tariffs versus other countries. For Japan to go cold turkey there's really no recourse other than mass unemployment. The gov't as well, without local taxes paid on goods, will not be able to finance a sudden surge in unemployment.

Tariffs do have a positive role to play to keep industries alive in a nation, but to suddenly remove them outright and embrace as much unemployment as we can will end up looking quite insane.

Farmland is a classic case of immigrants in my country (Canada) and waves have come over different time periods. Invited because either there wasn't enough people to do it or they didn't have the skills. Same solution for Japan: immigration. If Japanese don't want to farm, then it doesn't mean that other people don't too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is necessary to be very tough with the USA when considering trade agreements. We have struck exactly the same problem here in Australia with our recent negotiations on a trade agreement with them over the pharmaceutical issue. They want a deal which will mean price rises for medicines, many of which of course are manufactured in America. Countries making trade agreements with another should look to protect their own citizens and industries first, and ONLY first.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So you'd sacrifice the middle class for some butter? Strange priorities.

It's the farmers who are sacrificing the middle class. Each farmer has proportionally more vote than a city dweller, which is clearly undemocratic. The subsidies they gorge on come from taxes on the middle class. The subsidies and tariffs inflate the cost of food and undermine the competitive parts of the Japanese economy by encouraging trade partners to erect their own tariffs. Japan's agricultural sector is a pastiche of subsidies and protectionist tariffs that distort the crops farmers grow and the markets that non-farming Japanese producers have access to. It's the worst of both worlds, driving up prices and creating artificial shortages. So, yes, I want my butter, and I want average Japanese to not be ripped off by the Japanese argrimafia.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's the farmers who are sacrificing the middle class.

Farmers ARE middle class.

Each farmer has proportionally more vote than a city dweller, which is clearly undemocratic.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

yes, I want my butter, and I want average Japanese to not be ripped off by the Japanese argrimafia.

Fair enough, but the TPP is not the right way to do that. Don't let them brainwash you into thinking it is, so that you can get some butter.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Each farmer has proportionally more vote than a city dweller, which is clearly undemocratic. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

actually it has everything to do with it, its the disproportionate power in the rural vote which has cause the diet to be full of pro rural bureaucrats, which in turn pass heavily weighted policies, tariffs, protectionisms to favor farmers which are clearly a minority in both the population and economy.

Farmers ARE middle class a very small minority on middle class

Fair enough, but the TPP is not the right way to do that. in the last 40yrs every thing has been tried and failed to break these argrimafia hold on J politics, the TPP is the best way to force a change that is long overdue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

TPP is the best way to force a change that is long overdue

Don't count on it. It is rural voters which have kept the LDP in power for the last 70 years. Since rural voters get three votes per person, the LDP will give them all the tariffs and subsidies they want.

I doubt Japan has any interest in joining TPP, it seems now that their intent from the beginning was to sabotage the treaty. And so far they have succeeded. They have managed to delay the treaty by several years, and also to change the original intent of the treaty, which was to abolish all tariffs.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

the LDP will give them all the tariffs and subsidies they want. well since the majority businesses and exporters in Japan make up the economy and the majority of those favor the TPP, afterall its those same exporter who are speaking there power by saying, OK since the J gov doesnt give us enough support well move our production overseas. The loses in J manufacturing, jobs, taxes etc outweight by far the need to keep JA happy. JA actually cost the economy money through the welfare industry it is. Abe and his cronies can see this which is why changes are being made, eg JA boss has been sacked and changes so farmers need to upsize there farms to receive there welfare, the voting power of rural votes is slowly being reduced. 5trillion yen 6% of the budget is wasted on these leeches when it should be spent where its needed the most, healhhcare, hospitals, childcare, child support and pensions. If your a farmer I wouldnt count on welfare from the government to keep you afloat in the future

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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