The incoming Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe have dropped several positive hints about joining the widely supported Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement involving the U.S. and several European countries. Japan’s central government has shown partial interest in joining the pact in the past, however, strong opposition from the country’s farming and agriculture industries has prevented any serious commitments.
In the final coalition agreement between the LDP and its junior partner New Komeito, its stated that when it comes to the TPP, they will choose the best path for Japan’s national interests. This is an opposite wording of the LDP’s pledge to get farmers’ votes, which said it would oppose any trade pacts that have preconditions of eliminating tariffs. The new coalition government, which has also expressed an interest in promoting other free trade frameworks, will officially take control on Wednesday after Abe is named Prime Minister.
The TPP is seen as a key part in U.S. President Barack Obama’s pivot to Asia, and Japan’s participation would widely benefit its struggling economy. The Japan Business Federation called on Abe the day after the LDP’s election win to begin joining trade talks as soon as possible. As Japan is heavily reliant on its export industries, many business lobbies feel a global multilateral free-trade system would be very beneficial.[via The West]