Japan to state “red lines” in talks on US-backed trade agreement

DPA Tokyo | Updated on November 12, 2013 Published on November 12, 2013

A Japanese minister said on Tuesday that some domestic products were “red lines” for a US-backed trade liberalisation treaty, ahead of talks with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

“We must properly convey our current condition that the key farm products are the red lines for Japan,” said Akira Amari, minister for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks.

The proposed trade pact calls for elimination of all tariffs, but Japan has been seeking to retain tariffs that it levies on imports of some key farm and livestock products, such as rice, sugar, wheat, beef, pork, and dairy products.

Japan, the United States and 10 other countries involved in the trade talks are scheduled to hold a meeting in Salt Lake City in the United States next week.

Amari said the meeting will have “great significance” in pushing forward the TPP talks toward the member countries’ target of concluding a deal at the ministerial meeting in Singapore in December.

Lew is scheduled to hold a separate meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, before continuing to China, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Lew said in an opinion article for the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that the TPP “is envisioned as a ‘living agreement’ that other Asia-Pacific economies willing to take on the high standard TPP obligations can join.”

Published on November 12, 2013
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