Congress members urge Japan to eliminate tariffs in TPP

Farm Forum

More than 60 members of the House signed a letter last week to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging they advise Japan to eliminate tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products as part of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.

In the letter, congress expressed concern that Japan has yet to make a comprehensive offer on market access.

“TPP negotiations set an important standard for future trade agreements, and a positive outcome on agriculture products could mean billions in future exports and hundreds of thousands of jobs. This success will only be realized, however, if Japan and other U.S. trading partners agree to address trade barriers comprehensively, without broad exclusions for sensitive products such as those submitted by Japan,” the letter states.

The letter also emphasizes that if Japan is allowed exemptions, this could lead to other TPP countries making similar demands and jeopardize the entire agreement.

“Not only would special treatment for sensitive agriculture products be inconsistent with U.S. requests in previous trade agreements and assurances provided when Japan was invited to join TPP, but also could undermine the careful balance of concessions the other eleven economies have achieved,” Congress members say in the letter. “We commend previous efforts to expand market access with Japan, including completion of a revised export agreement for certain agriculture products last year. We now seek assurances from you that the U.S. will not close TPP negotiations with Japan’s participation unless Japan has agreed to eliminate tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to agriculture.”