The United States is trying to seek agreements for some areas that are not considered controversial in its 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and is looking to finalize them as early as October. In the meantime, because of all the interests that have to be considered for tariff eliminations, it’s more than likely they will not be finish the negotiations by the end of the year.
Japan has just officially joined the TPP in the third week of July during the 18th round of the TPP talks, together with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and of course, the US. This round of talks tackled such issues like intellectual property rights, environmental, and legal issues in the region. These are some of the non-controversial issues that the US would like the group to agree on by October, even though the deadline is technically by the end of the year.
It is believed that the US would like to underscore the importance of the free trade talks at home, as President Barack Obama’s administration has been claiming that the TPP will increase their efforts in exporting products to the Asia-Pacific region. This will bring about US economy reinvigoration, a hope that Japan is sharing as well with its closest ally. While there are a lot of tariff issues over some Japanese products, particularly in agriculture, some of the members are looking forward to when Japan starts to actually participate since they have good, existing trade ties with some of the countries, like New Zealand, Vietnam and Malaysia. It is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic goal to strengthen relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, hence the participation in the TPP, despite misgivings over the tariff exemption issues.