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U.S. lawmaker says Japan and Canada must cut farm tariffs

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The prices for sub standard dairy in Japan is way too high. More recently even butter shortages occurred, which of course, reducing import tariffs would help address. Though everyone knows it will never be an equal playing field with the massive subsidies the American taxpayers give to allow US farmers to export at a far cheaper rate than any other country can manage. If the subsidies were discontinued, perhaps other countries might be more accepting.

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TrevorPeace1 Feb. 08, 2015 - 05:35AM JST And as a Canadian who pays through the nose for protected dairy and poultry products, I tend to lean toward 'freer' trade, but not the TPP kind that's being discussed behind closed doors. I think it would benefit the Japanese people - as well as Canadians - to have cheaper butter, rice and other products,

Unlike Japan, Canadians are shortchanged when compared with similar jurisdictions with universal health care. It is the largest and most important budget, but Canada does not get same level of return for taxes on health care. Canadians shell out more on taxes on federal, provincial and local, and indirect levies than they do on food, shelter and clothing combined. Levies such as the taxes on sales, property , fuel, vehicles, imports, alcohol and tobacco. It’s hardly surprising people don’t realize how much they actually pay. With more money going to the government, families have less to spend on things they care about, to save for education and retirement, and to pay down household debt.

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A lot of fierce talk, here. And as a Canadian who pays through the nose for protected dairy and poultry products, I tend to lean toward 'freer' trade, but not the TPP kind that's being discussed behind closed doors. I think it would benefit the Japanese people - as well as Canadians - to have cheaper butter, rice and other products, but at the same time, I don't see what the US has to 'pay' for the TPP other than dropping tariffs on vehicles, and we all know vehicles aren't the panacea to freedom that the Americans believe they are. We don't all believe in Detroit!

There's more to this issue; let us all watch carefully what's going on, and make a point of not only expressing our opinions here, at JT, but also directly to those people who have been elected to represent us. Sorry, but I still believe we have some power there, at at the voting booth, so let's put their feet to the fire, shall we?

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“Those have to go. And if any of the 12 countries currently in the talks think our standards are too high, well, I’d complete the agreement without them and invite them to join it later.”

Another yapping lawmaker barking from the bench. Like you said, get your house in order by approving the fast track so your representative (Froman) words mean something during the negotiations.

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The plan is to destroy Japan's capability to grow its own food. Part one is to flood the Japanese market with cheap food. Part two is to hold these low prices as food production disappears in Japan. Part three is after a period of time raise food prices even higher since Japan has no way to counter higher prices. The end result is higher food prices in Japan, higher unemployment in Japan and higher profits to the foreigners who now control the food market. America already enjoys a huge trade surplus with Japan. TPP is about American greed no matters who gets hurt. American short sighted profit motives which often hurt the American people.

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What if US lawmakers would rule their country instead of wanting to rule the world ?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

There is a term for forcing countries to abandon tariffs and their domestic industries and then dumping your massively government subsidized goods on them at less than the cost of production, and that term ain't "Free Trade".

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I can't wait for TPP to pass!

Then all the countries can start making decisions about trade by hiring a bunch of men who fight each other in a circular roller rink with roller-skates and motorcycles, have them chase a steel ball and throw it into a small magnetic circle.

Winner takes all!

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@Laguna

I think there has been some mismanagement of the dairy industry in Japan so that consumers face the issues you mention. The demographics in Japan are also a key reason. But why begrudge farmers having a decent standard of living? They seem more important to our survival than the money changers and corporate managers. I recommend you read "Bet the Farm" and consider more broadly about a food system that a spiral down, monoculture approach controlled by big argi leads to.

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I for one would be delighted to continue paying 300 yen for a diminutive amount of butter and to have my cheese selection limited to sub-average "Camembert" or processed junk.

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Ryan also said it was vital to pass legislation know as trade promotion authority (TPA) as soon as possible to streamline the passage of trade deals though Congress.

Nice idea. Eliminate the democratic process for a trade pact that will rewrite some of the country's law. If it is so beneficial to the many, why the need for a top-down and secretive approach?

@jerseyboy

Do you really understand economic terms, or just choose to twist them?

Twisting terms is when someone hides the reality of NAFTA's impact on most people's wages and income, which in the US, Canada and Mexico have stagnated or declined, behind GDP numbers. Growing income and wealth inequality in all three countries shows that these trade pacts benefit the 1%. If you are part of this group, then reveal that greed is behind your ranting. If not, then why would you rail against your class interests?

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And I'm sure the US will be allowing tariff-free, unlimited imports of sugar? Or is that a "special" case?

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There no such thing as free trade with the US. The US either gets things their way or it's the highway. Both Canada and Mexico lost with the so called NAFTA. Now the US has figured out another way to 'control' others in the name of the US' interests for prosperity and this is known as the TPP. The only ones who will win in the end will be the US. At first it may appear nice and sweet on the glossy sugar coated exterior that it's an easy pill to swallow to fix all that ails you (the country) but make no mistake, the US will be in control when the dust settles and all involved will end up with a bitter taste in their collective mouths. History repeats its self again if the TPP goes through.

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Jeff -- do you really understand economic terms, or just choose to twist them?

Let's start with the true impact of NAFTA:

The economy contains rapidly developing modern industrial and service sectors, with increasing private ownership.

As an export-oriented economy, more than 90% of Mexican trade is under free trade agreements (FTAs) with more than 40 countries,

In 2006, trade with Mexico's two northern partners accounted for almost 90% of its exports and 55% of its imports.

Which, actually resulted in Mexico's GPD rising by 2.99% in 2014. To where it is just slightly less than Brazil's on a per capita basis. Besides, what does Mexico have to do with TPP anyway? It is a bad example, and your "knowledge" of its economy is flawed.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

"....even for you that's an amazing bit of cherry-picking."

Hilarious. I mention a well-documented and deep-seated problem at the heart of the Mexican economy. Check the dictionary for the meaning of "cherry picking."

"Why don't we also look at the amount of industrial production and jobs that have flowed to Mexico due to NAFTA"

Good idea. M's GDP has barely been above 1% since NAFTA, one of the lowest in the region. The low-level assembly jobs along the border have kept Mexico near a 3rd world nation. Brazil, an emerging nation, and others who wisely opted out of grand free trade agreements, are leaving Mexico in the dust.

2 million Mexican farmers lost their jobs, while food prices rose after 1994. That includes tortillas, the national staple. It also contributed to unprecedented wave of rural Mexicans flooding illegally in the US during those very same years. No food, no jobs? let's make a run to America!

"Surely you are aware of the fact that it is because of just this imbalance that has resulted from NAFTA, that many Democratic Congressmen oppose TPP."

Canada and Mexico have their own versions of Democratic Congressmen. It's largely because NAFTA has dis-served huge sections of workers in all 3 countries. In my part of Canada, the biggest industry, lumber, was largely wiped off the map post 1994, as the (official) jobless rate shot up to around 15 percent. Following that, the region became one of the world's top narcotics producers. Organized crime is now rampant.

The newly jobless loggers, it seemed, had plenty of free time to find alternative ways of making money. Others went into the low-wage tourist industry, which has boomed. Thanks, NAFTA!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It's an easy option for Canada....drop the tariffs and then raise the subsidies to farmers. That's the US strategy: "free trade" of highly subsidized crops and products. Look how subsidized US corn exports destroyed Mexico's staple industry under NAFTA.

What are you talking about? Mexico produces more and exports more corn than it did before NAFTA.

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@Jeff Greenpeace destroyed the Mexican staple production by keeping modern varieties out of Mexico.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

And what to Japan and Canada get out of this? Probably nothing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Look how subsidized US corn exports destroyed Mexico's staple industry under NAFTA.

Jeff -- even for you that's an amazing bit of cherry-picking. Why don't we also look at the amount of industrial production and jobs that have flowed to Mexico due to NAFTA -- wiping out m,any U.S. jobs? Surely you are aware of the fact that it is because of just this imbalance that has resulted from NAFTA, that many Democratic Congressmen oppose TPP.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's an easy option for Canada....drop the tariffs and then raise the subsidies to farmers. That's the US strategy: "free trade" of highly subsidized crops and products. Look how subsidized US corn exports destroyed Mexico's staple industry under NAFTA.

".....Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday urged quick passage of TPA."

Of course it did. It can hire the newly jobless and landless Canadian farmers as store greeters at minimum wage and then sign with up to government social security benefits to avert starvation among these former food producers. Oh, the irony. Corporate capitalism in the 21st century: gotta love it.

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Walmart. Now that is interesting.

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And if any of the 12 countries currently in the talks think our standards are too high, well, I’d complete the agreement without them and invite them to join it later.”

Three cheers. Increasing your import quotas for agricultural goods is not even close to the spirit of the agreement.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

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