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U.S. farm groups seek to exclude Japan from TPP trade talks

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TPP is not only about the US beef farmers. Its an agreement between 12 nations, and all have to agree about whether to cut/reduce tariffs.

Furthermore, its not up to the US to exclude Japan from the talks even if it wanted to (and it absolutely doesn't).

American beef farmers should be satisfied with the reductions they got in the broad deal reached over agriculture a month ago, and pray Japanese consumers will buy their over-chemicalized meat.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

TPP is not only about the US beef farmers. Its an agreement between 12 nations, and all have to agree about whether to cut/reduce tariffs.

The original charter off TPP states clearly "that all trade tariffs shall be eliminated by 2015". This was what Japan understood when they joined in, and this was what most other countries had already agreed to before Japan stuck it's nose in. The American farmers (not to mention farmers from other nations who are also opposed to having Japan in TPP) are right. If Japan cannot agree to the terms which TPP originally called for, then they should leave. And if Mr Froman is backing down from those terms and allowing the usual government corruption otherwise know as "concessions" to be made, then America should leave the agreement too.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

On one hand, by this juncture. to bar Japan from TPP would be unpractical, on the other hand, powerful lobby from American agriculture groups would definitely put significant pressures on Japan’s negotiation position in terms of reducing excessive tariffs on American beef, pork, poultry and grains

TPP is not perfect as we know, but it would be better to have TPP from strategic point of view, and by give and take, Japan would benefit in long run when it looks beyond immediate interests and gains.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

exclude Japan from TPP trade talks

An excellent plan!

7 ( +12 / -5 )

The original charter off TPP states clearly "that all trade tariffs shall be eliminated by 2015". This was what Japan understood when they joined in

I don't think 2015 was ever mentioned anywhere but you are absolutely right that the goal was to eliminate all tariffs. U.S and Japan should not be negotiating "sacred items" but the schedule for the removal of tariffs. In order to avoid catching Japanese farmers unprepared, Japan should negotiate a progressive removal of tariffs. How about removing 50% per year of the 700% tariffs on rice? That would leave them 14 years to get their act together. How about removing 5% a year on beef/pork tariffs? THAT'S what the negotiations should be about, not sacred items etc. My country Canada has made it clear that ALL tariffs should be removed, Canadians and others can play by these rules, if Japan can't they should leave. Canadian farmers want the same as U.S farmers, let the Japanese have their Canadian beef and bacon.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan wants it's cake and eat it too, as a consumer I should have the right to choose what food I want to buy.

9 ( +11 / -3 )

A powerful farm lobby trying to bully others to get their own way? Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@BertieWooster: Please give it a rest. Not everybody is as eager as you for Japan not to join TPP. Some of us want cheaper fruit and vegetables, and don't really like the fact that 1% of the population (i.e. farmers) can hold the country to ransom.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

CanadianJapan

My country Canada has made it clear that ALL tariffs should be removed, Canadians and others can play by these rules, if Japan can't they should leave. Canadian farmers want the same as U.S farmers, let the Japanese have their Canadian beef and bacon.

Rubbish.

Canada is still clinging to the Supply Board system. 300% tariffs on cheese, production quotas and price setting by the government, and so on. If they've abandoned the system, it's been in secret - it would be all over the CBC if it had been.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

that all trade tariffs shall be eliminated by 2015". This was what Japan understood when they joined in

No. Japan confirmed with US before joining in that some exceptions would be allowed. That's why Japan joined the negotiation table.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Unless my high-school economics courses were mistaken, a "free trade" deal typically must benefit both parties before it is signed. Otherwise, what's the point? Leaving aside emotional and sometimes arrogant opinions about the inherent pluses and minuses of US or Japanese agriculture, and looking at the facts and reality as it currently stands, is this deal (I'm only speaking in the context of this article above) beneficial for both parties? If not, do those in power on both sides see this as something worth pursuing because it will benefit the economy and/or create jobs across their nation? If not, then let it go. Why be angry and up in arms about a treaty if certain people don't feel it benefits them? Who here would sign a treaty if they felt it did not benefit them? Or am I missing something?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Free trade always benefits both parties.

The TPP nations that agree with this should just go ahead and conclude a free trade deal. When Japan has become relatively poorer because of it, it will realise this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Failing that, the alternative is suspending negotiations with Japan for now and concluding a truly comprehensive agreement with those TPP partners that are willing to meet the originally contemplated level of ambition,”

Great that someone is finally calling Japan's bluff. Japan was late to the game and promised to live by the rules already established. But, as many, including myself, predicted, all they have done is slow down the negotiations and try to get "special treatment". I'm happy to see that the farmers are using their political clout to make Obama get tough on Japan.

No. Japan confirmed with US before joining in that some exceptions would be allowed. That's why Japan joined the negotiation table.

No, that was Abe's spin to the domestic audience. The agreement was that NOTHING would be off the table.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Maybe this threat will finally get Japan to realize it's going to be left in the dust if it doesn't get its act together. They can't keep all their tariffs while demanding other nations drop theirs for Japanese products.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Smithinjapan

Maybe this threat will finally get Japan to realize it's going to be left in the dust if it doesn't get its act together. They can't keep all their tariffs while demanding other nations drop theirs for Japanese products.

Every country is trying to keep as many of their tarrifs and subsidies as possible while making sure everyone else drops theirs.

This is called "negotiation".

There is no country in the TPP that isn't trying to protect something.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Let's not beat around the bush here - Japan is willing to "negotiate" as long as it doesn't include the industries that are at the very heart of the TPP talks, like rice, meat and dairy. Japanese farmers fear the day a consumer walks into a supermarket and sees that "Wow, you mean I don't have to pay nearly ¥500 for a stick of butter, or ¥200 for 3 slices of bacon?!"

They've ridden this gravy train long enough!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The mollycoddled self-interested farming monopoly that holds Japan by the throat needs a very, very, very hard shakeout or they'd rather see Japan and the other 125 million people living in Japan sink for their own selfish-interests. Break the grip and get one Japan or the framework of TPP will go ahead without you... as others have expressed, we, the consumer, has a RIGHT to choice, not the narrow bandwidth you expect us to exist in.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

A tomato costs 100 yen, and that frankly is ridiculous. If the industry needs that pricing to remain solvent, that's reflective of a ridiculous level of inefficiency.

All said, these are Japan's borders. They have the right to reject the talks. The rest of the world also has the right to say "screw Japan" and leave Japan out. Walking away from global trade and global markets will spell dire consequences for the Japanese nation. I think that Japan is walking a dangerous path by isolating itself economically from the outside world.

A "closed Japan" mentality is doomed to bring this country into a state of permanent economic stagflation and ultimately a permanent status as a non-first world economy.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

TTP = "absolutely no restrictions on capital flow" = Wallstreet can suck out your wealth and cause another catastrophy like 2007, and this time Asia will be brought down. But the 1%ers will of course profit nicely. Japan absolutely should not be a party to this. What on earth is Abe thinking. If he is thinking.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Time for Japan to pack up its toys and go home. No one wants to play with them anymore.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Time for Japan to pack up its toys and go home. No one wants to play with them anymore.

Indeed Abe is crazy and need to shape himself

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm glad people here are starting to see the light~that Japan wants to keep its tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade firmly in place, while making a killing in other countries' markets that "conveniently" play fairly. The farmers in Japan are for the most part massive corporate complexes, huge firms that control a majority of the market, yet they don't shy away from putting little ol' Taro Bumpkin on the package to fool an (easily fooled) population into thinking it's all a bunch of Ma and Pa family farms versus the Seething Foreign Hordes (so you better fork over our outrageous ransom at the market or else!!)

Japan should be pushed out, not let out, of the TPP. It would humiliate those who think they can get away with murder in terms of unfair trade practices here in this country. It would show that Japan wants to "participate" far more than it wants to do the heavy lifting a dozen or more other countries are ready and willing to do. It would be a good start to exposing all the myriad ways that Japanese block free trade in spite of all their WTO promises (like forcing importers to either turn over control to a domestic "importing partner" or be banned from the market, or adding an illegal 8% sales tax and 1,000 yen "service fee" onto the negotiated and agreed-upon maximum tariff limit for various import over a certain amount, in spite of the goods not even being purchased here in Japan.)

Most important, it would lay bare the lie that is Abenomics' so-called "Third Arrow." You know, the one that up until now has remained stubbornly invisible and limited to the sphere of empty campaign promises...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I don't think 2015 was ever mentioned anywhere

2015 was the specific goal for tariff elimination. Had Japan not thrown a wrench into the works, the treaty would have been ratified in 2013, and the treaty members would now be working on rewriting their tariff schedules.

Japan appears not to understand what the words "free trade" mean. Japan called the recent deal with Australia a free trade deal, despite the fact that only Japan got zero tariffs on Jaoanese goods, and Australia would be charged tariffs of more than 20%. Someone needs to tell Japan that free trade agreements should be free to non-Japanese members as well.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

gaijinheiwa,

A tomato costs 100 yen, and that frankly is ridiculous.

It depends where you go shopping.

For 100 yen, in the local market in Ozato (Nanjo-shi Okinawa), you can get 20 or so of the sweetest, Italian style tomatoes, three lettuces for 80 yen, four largish beetroots for 140 yen. Fruit and vegetables in season are cheap. Supermarkets are not. And fruit and vegetables in season are really good.

Even if they were more expensive, I'd much rather pay a little more for fresh local produce than some genetically modified and totally tasteless monster.

Bye bye TPP.

Hello local market!

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Okinawa is much cheaper for things than the rest of Japan. I am lucky to be able to find a tomato for 100 yen in a grocery store. And those that are are bland. If I head to the local JA, I will probably end up paying even more for a bland tomato. If I head to my local farmer's market, I might get two for 100 and they might be decent. If they have any. Uusally they don't.

And beetroot? Hahahaha! I have never, ever seen it sold on Honshu. I am sure it is around in some places but I haven't seen it. Fruit and veg is is far too overpriced and often lacking taste.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

And beetroot? Hahahaha! I have never, ever seen it sold on Honshu. I am sure it is around in some places but I haven't seen it.

Neither have I. Dunno about in Okinawa, but most folk in these parts would have no idea what to do with a beetroot anyway. I grow them on my allotment, and while people scrabble to take my surplus tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, I can't give beets away.

Someone must be eating them, though; you can buy the seeds. Larger branches of Joyful Honda have them. NHK did a spot on them a while back on their Sunday-morning veggie-growing programme. They'll grow in planters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Even if they were more expensive, I'd much rather pay a little more for fresh local produce than some genetically modified and totally tasteless monster.

I gess you don't know that JA contracts with BCS and other American companies to supply seeds, fertilizer, and insecticides, so there really is no difference between Japanese fruits and vegetables and thsoe from America, other than they cost 400% more.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think there are 2 parties in the U.S. when it comes to Japan; the gov and the business community. The business community seems to have the real pulse of Japan, and really dont trust them after decades of deciet, copying products, hijacking the distribution network and other "cake and eat it too" behavior as one poster put it. The gov, on the other hand, seems to have a rosy outlook that Japan is the new partner on the block. I salute these farmers, after all, they are directly affected by Japans infant one sided behavior and the Japanese populace suffers for it, but they like it that way.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan appears not to understand what the words "free trade" mean. Japan called the recent deal with Australia a free trade deal, despite the fact that only Japan got zero tariffs on Jaoanese goods, and Australia would be charged tariffs of more than 20%. Someone needs to tell Japan that free trade agreements should be free to non-Japanese members as well.

So who does understand what the words mean?

Australia concluded a free trade deal (AUSFTA) with the US in 2004.

Concerning agriculture/farm products, some details are given here:

http://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/ausfta/outcomes/03_agriculture.html

What is immediately noticeable is that something can be termed a "free trade" deal while quotas and tariffs are retained. Under AUSFTA, Australian beef would be exported to the United States under fully free trade conditions by 2023, 19 years after the agreement came into effect. And a noteworthy sentence: "The Agreement does not change current arrangements for Australian access for Australian sugar or sugar related products."

Yet some people here are convinced that free trade means more or less instant elimination of tariffs. Obviously in the past that hasn't always been the case, as AUSFTA shows.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If aint broke, don't fix it. Whoever came up with this scheme has a purpose in mind and to his own advantage. Else, why change what was ok?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think there are 2 parties in the U.S. when it comes to Japan; the gov and the business community. The business community seems to have the real pulse of Japan, and really dont trust them after decades of deciet, copying products, hijacking the distribution network and other "cake and eat it too" behavior as one poster put it. The gov, on the other hand, seems to have a rosy outlook that Japan is the new partner on the block. I salute these farmers, after all, they are directly affected by Japans infant one sided behavior and the Japanese populace suffers for it, but they like it that way.

5Petals -- spot on. Just one small thing, however. When you say "government" I think you are really only speaking about Obama and his administration. Due to lots of factors, - China, Okinawa, etc. -- he is forced to walk a fine line with Japan. However, Congress, especially representatives from auto-states, and now farm ones, have clearly got Japan's number.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

TPP like any FTA deal is a holy grail like experience, EU tariffs on agricultural products average out at 18%, that said the tariffs on certain agricultural items range upwards of 100% reaching the stratosphere at 600%.

Abe raised the subject about Japan participation in TPP negotiations with Obama on a diplomatic level during his recent visit. There are no surprises to be had here. All the participating countries will fall back on bilateral arrangements.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

More American GMO goods for everyone!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Flexible percentage volume among small and few can be calculated which among farmers can understand cause all of them understand their interest and faith, although sometimes it might not enough but opening a door.is a big leap to move forward for the competition of by product to begin with which consumer voice soon be echo and heard to change the number...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's agriculture has been messed up and under performing since before the Nara period. Many tried to reform it. What they need is a little bit of time to transition from artisans to mega corporation, so they are not totally crushed. It's not a good idea to be totally dependent of another country to feed your people.

Beef and pork already increased price by 30% this year, in North America, and there is talk it will go up more, due to diseases, high price of feedstock and low offer. If Japan doesn't have those problems, then they will be competitive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

America (easential american business's) tries to exclude everyone who does not serve its best interests. Its time everyone excluded America. As nothing positive comes from the country. Below standard food and horrible programing are only things besides debt that the country has to offer. American has no friends only servants.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Its time everyone excluded America. As nothing positive comes from the country.

Tokyo -- I assume you include all those profits the Japanese car companies send back to Japan, from Americans that buy Japanese cars, are included in that "nothing positive comes from that country"? Are you sure you want to go down that road?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"Its time everyone excluded America"

If it weren't for the American market, Japan, S, Korea and all the other "Asian tigers" would today still be impoverished developing countries.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"America (easential american business's) tries to exclude everyone who does not serve its best interests. Its time everyone excluded America"

I see. So as soon as I step out of many airports in the U.S. and I see Toyota, Daikin, Komatsu, and other distributors, when I walk into retail and see the shelves dominated by Japanese products from Panasonic, Hitachi, when I see where Japanese have bought out many U.S. household name products, I guess I should just pretend that all is "unfair" when it comes to poor Japan. Did you know that In some U.S. states the majority of investment comes from Japan?

I would be able to see double the amount of U.S. products in Japan, correct? your saying, since Japan plays fair and the U.S. doesnt, we should see U.S. factories and distribution centers all over Japan, correct? I think you need to spend sometime in the business sector in Japan before you make such a ridiculous comment.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

America (easential american business's) tries to exclude everyone who does not serve its best interests. Its time everyone excluded America. As nothing positive comes from the country. Below standard food and horrible programing are only things besides debt that the country has to offer. American has no friends only servants.

You aren't aware that Japanese farmers use American seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides on their crops? The only difference between Japanese produce and American produce is the price, and size, as America has a longer growing season than Japan.

Horrible programming? Have you ever been to Japan? I got rid of my television long ago, I have lived in many countries, but I never knew what horrible programming was until I came to Japan.

America has been a good friend to Japan. During the rebuilding years following the war, America encouraged Japanese industry by charging zero tariffs on goods like cameras, business machines, and electronics. Japan took advantage of these benefits by putting many American manufacturers out of business. Back in 1960, America was the world's largest producer of televisions and radios. How many televisions and radios are made in America now? None whatsoever. It's quite ironic to see the Japanese electronics manufacturers now having to drink the same medicine they gave to American manufacturers 40 years ago.

Yet some people here are convinced that free trade means more or less instant elimination of tariffs.

Yet in the deal between Japan and Australia, Japan received an instant elimination of tariffs on it's cars, did it not? Australians can now buy Japanese cars more cheaply. But take a look at the prices of Australian beef in Japanese markets. Australia got an instant reduction in beef tariffs by 9%, but has the price of Australian beef been reduced by 9% in Japanese supermarkets? Of course not, and it never will be.

"America (easential american business's) tries to exclude everyone who does not serve its best interests. Its time everyone excluded America"

Why? America has the most open markets of any developed nation. America's markets have been open for decades, which is the main reason why America is far and away the world's largest importer of goods. Do you think it is unfair now that America is asking that other countries to do for America what America has done for them for many years?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

sangetsu03

Yet in the deal between Japan and Australia, Japan received an instant elimination of tariffs on it's cars, did it not? Australians can now buy Japanese cars more cheaply. But take a look at the prices of Australian beef in Japanese markets. Australia got an instant reduction in beef tariffs by 9%, but has the price of Australian beef been reduced by 9% in Japanese supermarkets? Of course not, and it never will be.

That FTA has not been ratified. It's an agreement only. It won't enter into force until later this year.

If Australians are seeing lower car prices, it's got nothing to do with the FTA.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese use predatory business tatics; they arent in it to play fair, they dont even do it with each other. Im not hating on them as what they do works, but I dont think the outside world really understand how they operate. Usually its too late and they have already invited them in. It has its roots in their bushido culture

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Agricultural is the only thing that Japan cannot compete... Japan will never allow its farmers to collapse. But by the way. Negotiations will always be tough. you cant just broke someone and walk freely in the strees

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are many things Japan cannot compete. Its agriculture, according to posters here is a joke while US agriculture is probably the top of the world. And US say it's a level plain field that J farmers compete with US under zero tariff?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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