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Coalition urges Japan's inclusion in TPP talks

A coalition of food and agricultural organizations urged the Obama administration to work with Japan to smooth the way for that country's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement.

Japan recently announced its intention to join the TPP negotiations, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.


In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the coalition said including Japan in the trade talks would generate enormous interest and support in U.S. agriculture.


“It would also spur even broader interest among other Asia-Pacific countries, which could lead to the type of Asia-Pacific regional arrangement envisioned by the administration when you embarked on these talks last year,” said the coalition.


Japan’s economy is second only to China’s in the region, and it is the fourth largest agricultural export market for the United States despite the fact that it maintains substantial import barriers. Even with the barriers, U.S. exports to Japan in 2010 were nearly $12 billion.


The coalition warned that Japan likely would enter free trade talks with the European Union in 2012 and with other countries if its TPP bid is rejected.


“The opportunity to include Japan in the TPP negotiations must be seized,” said the coalition. “It is an opportunity that may not present itself again.”
 

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