Trans-Pacific Partnership at Critical Juncture in Japan
April 24, 2014 - SCMR Editorial
As Prime Minister Abe and President Obama meet this week, shippers may expect to hear mainstream media reports of opposition to the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. But free trade advocates in both countries maintain that this an opportunity that may not surface again.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Keidanren, the U.S.-Japan Business Council (USJBC) and Japan-U.S. Business Council (JUBC) say that renewed focus, vigor and purpose is critical at this time in the negotiations.
“Failure to do so,” says the trade alliance, “runs the risk that the TPP will founder.”
For a high-standard agreement such as TPP, full market access is a core principle for all members. For Japan, it is essential to meet the commitment made to the United States and other TPP members upon admission into the TPP in April 2013 to subject all goods to negotiation, including agricultural products, with the goal of eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers on all.
For the United States, it is important to indicate a similar commitment to provide market access on industrial and agricultural goods. There are ways for both countries to manage commitments on sensitive issues flexibly, but fully in line with this principle.
Shippers in the U.S. and Japan stand to gain substantially from the establishment of high standard rules in areas such as intellectual property protection, investment, SOEs, digital commerce, regulatory coherence and transparency.
Without strong market access offers from Japan and the United States, however, other negotiating countries will be much less likely to open their markets or agree to rules that will benefit Japanese and American companies and both economies more broadly in the years ahead.
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