Japan: Re-drafting would shatter the glass-like TPP trade deal

By The Asian Nikkei Review   July 1, 2016 | 09:06 pm PT
American presidential candidates are turning their backs on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pushing to rewrite the deal. Japan has become the first country member to make a firm stand against renegotiating the trade pact. Australia and other pact participants are roughly on the same page with Japan.

Japan insists it will not renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, even as U.S. presidential candidates have threatened to block the deal, the Asian Nikkei Review reported.

When Western investors visiting Japan's office for TPP affairs in late June asked about renegotiating the deal, Tokyo's answer was crystal clear.

"A renegotiation would shatter the glass-like agreement between the 12 countries," the Nikkei quoted a Japanese official as saying. "The U.S. stands to lose the most. It's impossible."

"The prime minister [Shinzo Abe] is already prepared for the TPP to not take effect if the U.S. insists on renegotiating the deal," an official said.


The Japanese TPP office has informed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of every comment by U.S. presidential candidates related to the agreement. Photo by The Nikkei Asian Review.

Some U.S. Congressmen, who are taking a harsher tone on the TPP, have been inspired by successful experience in blocking a trade pact.

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2007 but did not enter into force until March 2012 due to congressional opposition. South Korea was forced to revisit the terms and accept a major delay on eliminating tariffs for car exports to the U.S.

For the pact to take effect as soon as possible, other countries need to ratify the TPP prior to the U.S. Congress reconvening after the November presidential election. But New Zealand and Australia are among the few countries to make progress.

New Zealand's parliament narrowly voted 62-59 for the pact in May, with two more rounds of voting before ratification there is complete. But the country had to make concessions over its mainstay dairy products under the TPP. New Zealand piggybacking on the push for renegotiation is not completely out of the question, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Australia's parliament halted all proceedings ahead of the general election Saturday. Mexico and Peru have made no notable moves.

Malaysia already ratified the TPP, and monarchical Brunei requires no parliamentary approval to enact the deal. But other members face major obstacles in turning the regional trade bloc into a reality.

Vietnam has confirmed that the newly-elected lawmakers intend to ratify the trade deal at their first plenary session from July 20 to August 9.

Related news:

Vietnam to ratify TPP trade deal by August 9

Vietnam to shake up supporting industries to seize TPP opportunities

Vietnam's textiles: Low productivity could eat up TPP benefits

Vietnam the biggest beneficiary if Obama can pass TPP

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