Tokyo's trade priorities
News On Japan via Bangkok Post -- Apr 23
Achieving full free trade among its members by 2020 remains the stated goal of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) group, but few expect it to materialise due to the non-binding nature of the agreement.
Members instead are building smaller free trade blocs within Apec, which will eventually be equivalent to a free trade area for Asia Pacific. For Japan, the preferred route appears to be the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiated by the United States. The pact is intended to also cover the Asean+6 group that includes the 10 Asean members plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
While the TPP has gained more momentum following strong promotion by the US, the Japanese government, businesses and academics have worked to ensure that Japan will become a member of the TPP pending the consent from existing members, particularly the US.
So far, nine countries have committed to support the TPP: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Despite the outcry by Japanese farmers about wider liberalisation of trade in farm products, the TPP would help enhance predictability in trade and investment rules to create a win-win situation to all, said Yukio Edano, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
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