A United States business organization believes that Japan’s proposal to the Trans-Pacific Partnership regarding the tariff issues still needs improvement. According to U.S.–Japan Business Council President James Fatheree, the degree of market access Japan has proposed failed to meet the standards set by the TPP for the free trade agreement and must be revised.
Speaking in an interview, Fatheree said that Japan has not met the expectations of the TPP’s working committees, suggesting that further allowance must be made to make it agreeable. A main point of contention in the proposal is Japan’s insistence on keeping tariffs in five key farm products categories such as beef and rice. While everyone involved in the discussion is hopeful the two nations can come to an agreement, Fatheree maintains that Japan must be able to accept that their proposal “is not good enough.” He also stressed the importance of TPP and the opportunity it gives Japan on agriculture products considering that its current agricultural system “does not work any longer.”
The U.S. has been seeking for all tariffs to be lifted including the product categories Japan claims as sensitive such as rice, wheat, pork and beef, dairy products and sugar. Wendy Cutler, acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative urged Japan to give market access that would be “meaningful” to U.S. exports. This deadlock on tariffs has been the cause of what was supposedly an early conclusion to the TPP. Deputy chief TPP negotiator Hiroshi Oe is scheduled to wrap up discussions on the free market access by Wednesday. Fatheree hopes that negotiations will be reached soon as the success of the TPP is “riding on the ability of Japan and the United States to get this agreement.”