politics

U.S. says differences remain after TPP-linked talks with Japan

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Japan does not want free trade. The special interests that support the politicians will lose money and that will cause the politicians to lose money. Besides TPP is not about free trade.

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In 2011 Japan exported $129 Billion in goods to the USA, while the USA exported $66 Billion to Japan. Judging from these numbers.... Japan does not want to change anything.

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Acting Deputy Trade Representative Butler is inept and completely unsuitable to lead these delicate TPP negotiations with Japan. These negotiations have dragged-on for 5-years, with no end in sight. Ms. Butler does not understand the first thing about any of the most important aspects of Japanese political, commercial, or cultural sensitivities that drive all decision-making in Japan. When it comes to deft negotiations, she could not 'find her arse with both hands and a flashlight'. The USTR plans for simultaneous Bi-Lateral & Plurilateral Market Access Negotiations is completely unworkable and unrealistic. A uniform Tariff Reduction for all States should be employed. The typical American Trade negotiation strategies entail incessantly bullying Japan in to reducing their Trade Barriers for Rice and Cotton, but refusing to reduce any of the American barriers on a whole string of commodities such as Sugar, Fabric, etc. What a self-serving approach to force Vietnam to buy Yarn or Fabric made in USA, ship it to Vietnam for weaving clothes, and then ship it back to America (String-forward rules of origin). Although most Nations have already agreed to WTO Rules (TRIPS), because they don't favor President Obama's favored companies, then USTR wants to impose unrealistically higher Standards on developing Asian nations, so that they must incure a prohibitively-higher cost trying to meet America's advanced technology levels. The US insistence upon ISDS mechanism for handling Busines vs. State disputes (instead of already established WTO rules), only serves to benefit the largest American Capital Exporters in forcing APAC nations to surrender their sovereign immunity. All of these US TPP strategies are designed to destroy the current WTO processes, and replace them with US-favored mechanisms. President Obama is losing a struggling battle to convince Americans to accept his failed 'Obama-care' Insurance policies domestically, but still wants to force Japan to reduce their Insurance Barriers. This is so companies such as Kaiser Permanente can sell insurance to unsuspecting Elderly Japanese, and so that American Family Life and other Insurers can convince naive Japanese elderly to throw their money away on unnecessary and overpriced Whole Life policies instead of investing their money in the Postal Insurance System (which also does not gain them any interest). Lastly, it is completely inhumane to force developing APAC countries to conform to USA-based Pharmaceutical Price Regulations and processes. 'Obama-care will escalate Medicinal-costs in USA beyond belief; in APAC it will push patented drugs out of reach of the most needy (greedy Pharmaceutical companies will price towards the richest tier in each country). In essence, Ms. Butler has no skill or Win/Win solutions to offer Japan, so instead she hopes to continue brow-beating Japan over these one-sided (favoring America) TPP easements, while President Obama threatens Japan with neglect on Military and Political issues if they do not agree. This can be seen by President Obama's slap in the face to Japan, when he nominated the wholly-unqualified Caroline Kennedy as future Ambassador.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Like most misnamed "free trade agreements", TPP is not about "free trade" but rather the US shoving its corporate demands on other nations. Japan would be well-served to stay out of it if it wants to retain any sense of national sovereignty.

Most of TPP's text -- from what is allowed to be known of it since public transparency is rather nil -- is not about trade at all but about secret "investor-state dispute provisions", essentially giving foreign investors, namely big corporations, tremendous rights & privileges over local laws and cultural norms. Under the proposed rules, which again apparently make up most of TPP's text, foreign investors/corporations would be able to bypass a country's (like Japan's) domestic courts and laws, and sue governments directly before secret tribunals, not accountable to the public, of three private sector lawyers operating under World Bank and UN rules to demand taxpayer compensation for any domestic (i.e. Japanese) law that investors believe will diminish their "expected future profits."

This could jeopardize a whole range of laws & institutions in Japan that people in Japan have come to expect and depend on, from reliable national health insurance and reasonably-priced pharmaceuticals to environmental, health & safety laws (like banning products, seeds, etc. with GMOs), to major industries like cars, farming, and intellectual property rights. Under TPP, Japan's national laws wouldn't be erased but many could prompt foreign (read, major US) corporations to sue and thereby drain Japan's already dwindling national coffers. For Japan's long-term survival and sovereignty, it would be short-sighted to join such a one-sided and overly corporate entity like TPP.

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escape_artistAug. 10, 2013 - 11:46AM JST

Like most misnamed "free trade agreements", TPP is not about "free trade" but rather the US shoving its corporate demands on other nations. Japan would be well-served to stay out of it if it wants to retain any sense of national sovereignty.

No one's forcing Japan's hand. If she doesn't want to play, then she can opt out or make her own FTAs with the likes of Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.

None of the above will threaten Japanese national sovereignty, which basically means Japan Inc and the farming sector.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

None of the above will threaten Japanese national sovereignty, which basically means Japan Inc and the farming sector

"Japan Inc" is one of the strongest backers of TPP. The Japanese domestic market is rapidly fading away into insignificance, so there is less for Japan Inc. to lose if foreign competitors enter the Japanese market. Japan Inc. wants to do business in foreign countries far more than foreign countries want to do business in Japan.

Japan Inc. is not stupid, they have been striving to get out from under the burden Japanese corporate culture, which even they can't control. They also have a fairly solid understanding of economics. They can see that two-plus decades of government mismanagement have done nothing but increase the national debt to catastrophic levels, while doing nothing whatsoever to improve the economy. It is hard for them to see that TPP could do any more harm than the disasterous policies which have been enacted over the years.

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Michael--

Amazing how you can be so knowledgable, critical, and dismissive of her credentials and abilities yet can't even get her name right.

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danalawton1@yahoo.comAug. 10, 2013 - 11:08AM JST In 2011 Japan exported $129 Billion in goods to the USA, while the USA exported $66 Billion to Japan. Judging from these numbers.... Japan does not want to change anything.

Why don't you take the populations of both countries into account. USA 311 million people, Japan 126 million people. Sounds pretty fair to me.

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Actually it sounds more than fair to me!

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@Vic.... Great idea! Lets base all trade on the population of your country versus the population of the country goods are being exported to on the theory a larger population can absorb more imports. So under this scenario the USA could theoretically export $400 Billion in goods to China while China could only export around $90 Billion to the USA. And Japan would be able to export say $100 Billion to China while China would only be able to export around $10 billion in goods to Japan. Do you think there might be a small problem with your idea?

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These are the true colors of america. Sweet words for the press but foul play behind the scenes.

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Michael Erickson, excellent post!

US has hijacked TPP for its own trade hegemony. It's a Win for USG's corporate owners but a Lose for everyone else.

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TPP is a welfare program for corporations.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/TPP-the-1-solution-to-de-by-Jeanine-Molloff-130625-90.html

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US has hijacked TPP for its own trade hegemony. It's a Win for USG's corporate owners but a Lose for everyone else.

I think TPP is more about containing China and marginalizing their economic influence in Asia. Kind of obvious is you take a look as the countries involved, how many of them have an interest in hedging against China, and the fact that China is being excluded. But of course the US wants its corporations to compete and be successful against the rest of the playing field.

Whether or not it will succeed is something else.

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TPP is much more than a trade agreement. TPP can dictate and overrule domestic or local laws and hands out judgements on disputes. Bottom line is who controls TPP? Partnership is in name only.

Details of the discussions are kept secret. Why? Because they are afraid people would know the detailed terms and conditions that they will be subjected to with TPP through the consent of their corrupted politicians.

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Elementz: You are correct...I misspelled Ms. Wendy Cutler's name. It was a Typographical Error as I typed quickly and then did not proof-read before hitting send; which I apologize for. Thanks for pointing this out. However, the essence of my comments stand. All of the points I made above are valid. Sorry again for misspelling.

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