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U.S. senator says Japan cannot be foot-dragger if it wants to join TPP

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and (show) that they’re going to be real players and not be foot-draggers

and

“I’m here to help accomplish that, by asking questions and listening and learning,” Baucus said.

Okay...first thing to learn is that calling people names and implying they are not "real players" is a dumbass way to begin a relationship.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

US-- Do what we say or you can't join the TPP that was originally started by 4 signatories, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Brunei.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Baucus is not to be trusted quite frankly. But then again, Americas hope is to kick the Democra.s out of their obstructionist and harmful control of the US Senate. The Republican Party continues to be the more pro-Japan party anyway.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Any country, including Japan, that wants to join the negotiations has to “indicate a willingness to make concessions and (show) that they’re going to be real players and not be foot-draggers,” Baucus said

Farmboy -- why is speaking the truth "calling people names"? It is a well-known fact that Japan's basic negotiation strategy is foot-dragging. Has been for decades. And it is exaserbated in this case since Noda is powerless to really make any serious concessions, since there is so much opposition to this within Japan, even within the DPJ. All he is saying is that the train is leaving the station and it is not going to wait for Japan.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

herefornow

Japan will be better off left at the station on this one. There is so much wrong with this pact, not the least of which is that it has less to do with actual trade and more about the Americanization of the Western pacific. For once, the Japanese government's inability to make a decision might be a benefit to the people of Japan.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Okay...first thing to learn is that calling people names and implying they are not "real players" is a dumbass way to begin a relationship

Actually it's an excellent way to start. Because we all know that Japan will be dragging their feet when it comes to rice farming. All he is saying "if you want to join you can't refuse to give up your protectionist stance on rice."

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan will be better off left at the station on this one.

saidani -- while I would respectfully disagree with you -- since truly making Japan an open market in a time when global trade will be the rule and not the exception, and a shrinking/protectionist economy with foolish prices for basics including food is not enviable -- even if you are right, it makes his point even more. If Japan does not want in, then simply make that decision and quit trying to straddle the fence. Pull out of the talks and go your own course.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Thanks for the reasoned response. While I would support an open market for Japan, this vehicle is not it. There are too many non-trade issues involved including the IP and investor-state dispute provisions which heavily favor industry over national governments and exceed currently accepted agreements. Also, despite the US's insistence to the contrary, this pact is as much about isolating China as it is opening trade in the Western Pacific. Since China is Japan's largest trading partner, the potential problems outweigh the potential benefits. That said, by the Japanese government's own estimates, this pact will only increase Japan's GDP by 0.05% which is insignificant for the changes that will be forced on Japan. I would disagree with you on why Baucus made these statements. Without Japan, the deal is certainly not as sweet for the US. His intent was to pressure the weak Noda to decide to join. Meanwhile, the negotiations are so secret, the Japanese public will not know what is in it until they have signed to it, kind of like Obama's healthcare bill which Pelosi insisted had to be passed so they could see what was in it. This is not the kind of deal any sensible government would join. But, then, we are talking about the same government that has few problems with schoolchildren being fed radioactive lunches. So...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If Japan does not want in, then simply make that decision and quit trying to straddle the fence. Pull out of the talks and go your own course.

Well said.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan needs to you know what or get off the pot!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Farmboy -- why is speaking the truth "calling people names"?

Because you don't begin a negotiation that way. Because there is no need to say it, no matter what the past has been, since you can deal with it when it occurs.

How would it be if the Japanese say, I don't want to see any philandering or drunk behavior when they first meet Senator Baucus? He would probably be annoyed, even if he has been drunk or done some philandering in the past. It wouldn't be polite, which is my point. Why start by being rude?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

And, Japan hasn't been dragging their feet about rice-farming. There are simply refusing to negotiate on that issue, as they should. I do agree Japan should stop straddling the fence. I think the TPP offers nothing to Japan, and they should stay out of it completely.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan has zero custom rate for American cars. And will TPP demand that Japan should abolish the low automobile tax rate for light motor vehicles (Keiyon)?

The Armitage report recently released urges Japan to join the TPP or FTA for food security reasons. However those economic agreements assure the free trade of what is available, not what is unavailable. How do they cope with expected food shortage? Japan in this sense should and probably will oft for a more agricultural oriented society instead of leaving food supply to TPP or FTA partners. Self-reliant food economies and perhaps nature farming in view of food safety and health concerns will be pursued in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And, Japan hasn't been dragging their feet about rice-farming.

Yes they have. They won't give up their ridiculous tariffs.

There are simply refusing to negotiate on that issue, as they should.

If that's the case they have no place in the TPP, which is about sensible free market policies.

The TPP would be a great boon to Japan, but only if they relax their own protectionist stance. Abolishing rice tariffs will not only help Japanese consumers, especially the poor, it will help Japanese rice farming by making it more efficient.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think the TPP offers nothing to Japan, and they should stay out of it completely.

It offers a lot. Especially if it reforms their agricultural sector.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Open the market of Japan for imported agricultural products is definately a suicidal attempt! The jaapnese farmers will storm the PM office in frustrations!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

What do they expect? Japan to actually decide on something? No no no... they're going to demand exemption from this and that, and demand concessions on this and that, complain about attack on their culture and hmmm and hawww until they'll told to 'sh%t or get off the pot', and they'll probably be left behind. Then they'll grumble and complain and finally take a defensive position to try and save face (while 'hinting at the possibility of joining at a later date').

Japan is really going to miss out on this one if they don't act soon. YES, some old rice farmers who depend on government subsidies and cannot adapt will suffer, but on the whole it will FORCE a lot of people here adapt and the nation will progress. What's more it will ensure customers can choose from a variety of goods, though if history is any indication they'll stick largely stick to 'made in Japan'. Finally, another benefit is that it will ensure Japanese goods become more widespread and in higher demand in the TPP nations.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

on the whole it will FORCE a lot of people here adapt and the nation will progress.

Ah...the good Americans...only trying to do what's best for Japan even if it is "FORCED" on them. Japan has a lot of major problems. It is debatable that the TPP will solve any of them. Unfortunately, it is a debate that the Japanese public will never have because the negotiations are secret. Let's open up those negotiations and have that debate before agreeing to anything.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Japan should avoid any and all "free trade zones" they are no good for the people and only help mega corporations seel their cheaply made krap.

Japan should look at what has happened in the United States since NAFTA.

Japan needs to protect itself.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

yes indeed, foot dragging is big sport here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

TPP will force modernization and economies of scale into the slowing dying Japanese agricultural sector. But further law changes are needed in Japan to help this along. Not least the immediate end of the undemocratic vote=weighting of rural electorates.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A typically ignorant US politician tries to bully Japan - yet again! Japan can do without being "forced" to open up to US imports! It still sounds to me as if Matthew Calbraith PERRY is at the gate "forcing" Japan to "open up"! Not a nice image for the 21st century! Why not start by offering to find out what Japan might need - begin the negotiations that way - not by arm-twisting!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Agree with lot of the comments above. If J- govt. prefers to protect the self serving, over protected farming sector along with the big insurance, pharmaceuticals etc, that's fine...Butt out , go it alone but then stop whining and wondering about how South Korea is zooming ahead while Japan is continuing its slow competitiveness decline. The way forward for Japanese economy is NOT by avoiding free trade agreements of this magnitude...but hey you make your own bed Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What does America have that Japan would want anyway?

Japanese cars are better, electromic and white goods (fridges etc) have been at the top of the tree for decades, food? Maybe... if the Japanese want corn or wheat.

@Saidani

Japan will be better off left at the station on this one. There is so much wrong with this pact, not the least of which is that it has less to do with actual trade and more about the Americanization of the Western pacific. For once, the Japanese government's inability to make a decision might be a benefit to the people of Japan.

Well said.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

the slowing dying Japanese agricultural sector

Instead they need megafarms supplied by US companies? All food imported from somewhere else? Do you think that's an advantage, because I sure don't. The small farm is dead or dying in the US, and US policies killed it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

U.S. officials have pressed Japan to signal its readiness to address a long list of market access barriers in areas ranging from autos to agriculture to financial services.

It's the Financial services that would worry me. How does this relate to the free trade of goods which is what I believe is the original purpose of the TPP.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Thunderbird- what would Japan want out of TPP?...Simple - 0% tariff access to the US and other member markets , that's what would benefit Japan most as it would make their products more competitive against SK etc. If they don,t get that their competitiveness will continue to go down along with their products market share.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan is really going to miss out on this one if they don't act soon. YES, some old rice farmers who depend on government subsidies and cannot adapt will suffer...

There's a lot more to it than "some old rice farmers". They produce enough rice to feed Japan, a nation of 128 million people.

The biggest opponent of the Japanese policy of self-sufficiency in rice is the United States.

The difference between the two countries is that Japan is producing rice primarily to feed itself. The US is an aggressive exporter of rice, so it obviously wants unfettered access to populous countries like Japan and Korea where daily rice consumption is the norm and unlike China, cheap labour is not how it is produced. The US can undercut the price of Japanese or Korean rice. They would present this as free trade, but American rice is very heavily subsidized. As the crappy rightwing thinktank the Cato Institute will happily acknowledge:

http://www.cato.org/publications/trade-briefing-paper/grain-drain-hidden-cost-us-rice-subsidies

Info. from a different source here:

http://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=00000&progcode=rice

The position for the last couple of decades has been that the US wanted to force Japan to open up to subsidized US rice.

That is not free trade.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The US probably couldn't care less if Japan doesn't join the TPP anyways. The TPP would just further open markets for the US in places where it would actually have an effect. And that's what the US cares about.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There's a lot more to it than "some old rice farmers". They produce enough rice to feed Japan, a nation of 128 million people.

Under a WTO agreement, Japan already imports 700,000 tons per year California rice, short grain and equal in quality to Japanese rice, also from China and Thailand. It never reaches the food market, instead it's kept in gov't silo's until it's no longer fit for human consumption when it's sold on for animal feed. The yearly cost of storage is 150 million yen.

In 1995, Japan started importing rice under the Minimum Access Rice program based on the WTO Agreement.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's the Financial services that would worry me. How does this relate to the free trade of goods which is what I believe is the original purpose of the TPP.

Yes, VicMOsaka, this is the real gem. One can only imagine what those at the core of the current global recession will do with the world's largest pension fund, the Japan Post Bank and Insurance, and the $13 to $14 trillion in household savings. Someone, please explain how giving Wall Street access to these massive funds is going to benefit the Japanese economy. We know how it will benefit Wall Street.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Wipeout,

So true what you have said on your post. It is very necessary that Japan has self sufficency for it's food. Look what is happening in the USA with the drought and warning of food shortages and price increases. What would happen if Japan relied completely on the USA for it's food supply and USA could only supply their own people.

And it is true, America subsidizes it's major crops in the billions of Dollars. There is one thing that Japan needs to do, and that is reduce the tarrifs by a huge amount on food products. Things like rice, butter and other dairy products.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The yearly cost of storage is 150 million yen.

That's an awful lot of money. Enough to buy 5 houses.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Is TPP that important in the first place?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

it is a pity that so much focus here is between the US and Japanese markets. It certainly is mildly hypocritical of the US (or Europe for that matter) to point fingers at Japan. Both those 2 mega-markets are heavily subsidized and inefficient. However, the TPP involves, other, highly efficient subsidy-free smaller markets that, combined, offer a large, free market.

Markets that operate efficiently are in equilibrium and offer economic benefits to all. That doesn't mean markets should be free of regulation (otherwise there will be collusion or hoarding, imperfect information flow, or simple corruption. The highly, (staggeringly really), inefficient food-sector of Japan needs an enema before it collapses under the weight of it's own high cost. Offer the average Japanese consumer a choice and watch how long they suffer inflated prices. Economic truths predict the consumer will opt for the better price in keeping with rational, utility-maximizing behaviour. This is clear and unambiguous.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So true what you have said on your post. It is very necessary that Japan has self sufficency for it's food.

What a load of rubbish. Japan isn't and never ever will be self-sufficient for it's food. And the Japanese government actually reduced rice production to keep prices up. They aren't trying to be self sufficient. So any arguments that trot out this government propaganda should be disregarded. It's like saying: "Japan should be self-sufficient in oil". Just because you want to be doesn't make it so.

So instead Japan should stop holding consumers hostage with overpriced local rice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Economic truths predict the consumer will opt for the better price in keeping with rational, utility-maximizing behaviour. This is clear and unambiguous.

So let's say that, for instance, the cheapest rice is from Thailand, and either Thai's start growing Japanese rice, or Japanese adjust their taste and customs to Thai rice (unlikely, but let's consider it.). Now the Japanese farmer is out of business. The money flows out of Japan, and toward the Thai farmer. It's good for the farmer in Thailand, but Japan has lost an industry and all associated jobs. It has lost the ability to produce food, and to control quality. In return, however, Japanese spend less money on rice. Isn't that good? Well, no, because they no longer, as a group, have as much money to pay for rice. The rice production jobs they had have left the country, never to return, and this situation will be replicated for every industry. But they can sell more cars, you say? That's true, but since the factories to produce those cars are overseas, the corporations benefit, but the Japanese workers do not. Just say no, I think.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Farmboy

Your analysis of the situation is a bit naive. New Zealand a country about the same size as Japan is an agricultural powerhouse. They can still sell dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables all around the world despite having to ship them many miles away.

And guess what. New Zealand has the lowest farm subsidies in the world. And they don't have tariffs on imported food. It's because of this that they have an efficient agricultural sector.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Some people in New Zealand are not too happy about TPP:

Trade is only a minor part of the agreement. That’s just a clever branding exercise. A TPPA would be an agreement that guarantees special rights to foreign investors. If these negotiations succeed they will create a mega-treaty across 9 countries that will put a straight jacket around what policies and laws our governments can adopt for the next century – think GM labelling, foreign investment laws, price of medicines, regulating dodgy finance firms, NZ content on TV …

http://tppwatch.org/what-is-tppa/

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Probably explains the recent law change about downloading "illegal" content. Those who think Japan joining TPP is such a good idea might want to check out the following:

The TPP will rewrite the global rules on IP (intellectual property) enforcement. All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement. In the U.S. this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of U.S. copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s broad ban on circumventing digital locks and frequently disproprotionate statutory damages for copyright infringement) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. The recently leaked U.S. IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current U.S. law. This raises significant concerns for citizens’ due process, privacy and freedom of expression rights.

The leaked U.S. IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:

Treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders' authorization as copyright infringement. This was discussed but rejected at the intergovernmental diplomatic conference that created two key 1996 international copyright treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Ban parallel importation of genuine goods acquired from other countries without the authorization of copyright owners. Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP. Life + 70 years for works created by individuals, and following the U.S.- Oman Free Trade Agreement, either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse). Adopt laws banning circumvention of digital locks (technological protection measures or TPMs) that mirror the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and treat violation of the TPM provisions as a separate offence, even when no copyright infringement is involved. This would require countries like New Zealand to completely rewrite its innovative 2008 copyright law. It would also override Australia’s carefully-crafted 2007 technological protection measure regime exclusions for region-coding on movies on DVDs, videogames, and players, and for embedded software in devices that restrict access to goods and services for the device -- a thoughtful effort by Australian policy makers to avoid the pitfalls experienced with the U.S. digital locks provisions. In the U.S., business competitors have used the DMCA to try to block printer cartridge refill services, competing garage door openers, and to lock mobile phones to particular network providers. Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation, based on the provisions of the 1997 U.S. No Electronic Theft Act. Adopt the U.S. DMCA Internet Intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime in its entirety. This would require Chile to rewrite its forward-looking 2010 copyright law that currently provides for a judicial notice and takedown regime, which provides greater protection to Internet users’ expression and privacy than the DMCA’s copyright safe harbor regime. In short, countries would have to abandon any efforts to learn from the mistakes of the U.S. experience over the last 12 years, and adopt many of the most controversial aspects of U.S. copyright law in their entirety. At the same time, the U.S. IP chapter does not export the limitations and exceptions in the U.S. copyright regime like fair use, which have enabled freedom of expression and technological innovation to flourish in the U.S. It includes only a placeholder for exceptions and limitations. This raises serious concerns about other countries’ sovereignty and the ability of national governments to set laws and policies to meet their domestic priorities.

Non-Transparent and On The Fast Track

Despite the broad scope and far-reaching implications of the TPP, negotiations for the agreement have taken place behind closed doors and outside of the checks and balances that operate at traditional multilateral treaty-making organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.

Like ACTA, the TPP is being negotiated rapidly with little transparency. Since 2009 when United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified the U.S. Congress that President Obama intended to begin talks on TPP, there have been 12 formal rounds of TPP negotiations. The next round of negotiations in planned for July 2012 in San Diego, California. The negotiating countries hope to complete the TPP agreement by the end of 2012.

During the TPP negotiation round in Chile in February 2011, negotiators received strong messages from prominent civil society groups demanding an end to the secrecy that has shielded TPP negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the public. Letters addressed to government representatives in Australia, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand and the U.S. emphasized that both the process and effect of the proposed TPP agreement is deeply undemocratic. TPP negotiators apparently discussed the requests for greater public disclosure during the February 2011 negotiations, but took no action.

Why You Should Care

TPP raises significant concerns about citizens’ privacy, freedom of expression and due process rights, innovation and the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities and enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory counties to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the U.S. entertainment and pharmaceutical industries, but omits the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.

The TPP will affect countries beyond the nine that are currently involved in negotiations. The new TPP agreement will build upon a 2005 agreement between New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam (the P4 agreement) but will include more extensive provisions on intellectual property and other issues. The TPP will set rules that will likely be adopted initially by the 21 member economies in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The TPP is being negotiated by 9 members of APEC, and negotiators plan to finalize the “TPP concept” at the APEC Economic Leaders meeting in November 2011.

Like ACTA, the TPP Agreement is a plurilateral agreement that will be used to create new heightened global IP enforcement norms. Countries that are not parties to the negotiation will likely be asked to accede to the TPP as a condition of bilateral trade agreements with the U.S. and other TPP members, or evaluated against the TPP's standards in the annual Special 301 process administered by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

2020hindsights,

It was meant to be a simple example, but you seem to be missing that the yen is very high compared with the currencies of other countries like New Zealand, and Japanese farm products are a pretty hard sell except for products that nobody else produces, or products that are of better quality than other places. What works for New Zealand isn't going to work for Japan, and, as billyshears points out above, not everyone agrees that it is working for New Zealand.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What a load of rubbish. Japan isn't and never ever will be self-sufficient for it's food.

This is true. But Japan's intention has only been to be self sufficient in rice and that is something they have been able to achieve.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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