All roads lead to TPP for Japanese lawmakers

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Politico | 3 May 2017

All roads lead to TPP for Japanese lawmakers

By MEGAN CASSELLA

The idea of a U.S.-Japan bilateral trade deal isn’t getting much enthusiasm from senior Japanese lawmakers, unless it leads back to what Tokyo views as the more realistic and most beneficial result: the TPP.

“I understand it’s very difficult for the time being, especially politically, for getting the United States, but taking a step-by-step approach and having a mutual understanding I hope leads to going back to TPP,” said Yoshimasa Hayashi, a member of Japan’s upper house and senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Hayashi, who served as the country’s agriculture minister during TPP talks, said at a Brookings Institution event Tuesday that the establishment of a new economic dialogue with the U.S. is a “very good idea,” but Tokyo will eventually need to see some detailed documents and plans in the future.

Japan is “not denying the possibility of starting a bilateral FTA, but since the world is so globalized, rather than having a bilateral FTA, having that bigger, multilateral trade system — which is not only for trade but for rulemaking and rulemaking is very important — it is not achieved by a bilateral FTA,” he said.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, a senior LDP member in Japan’s lower house, recognized that TPP is not an option for the U.S. in the current political climate, but said Tokyo must take a lead position in trying to get Washington to come back to a regional trading framework.

In “the big market of Japan, the Asian countries, Australia and Europe are going to come in and America may feel left out and start wondering if it’s beneficial for them,” he said at the Brookings event.

But Nishimura added that Japan reached its limit in terms of compromising with the U.S. on agriculture and automobiles. “We’ll not be able to allow more compromises” he said.

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source: Politico