Froman, Vilsack: Japan holding up TPP negotiations
Testifying before House committees today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Japan is the problem in talks to complete the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership negotiations.
“We have to see increased market access or there may not be a deal or Japan may not be part of the deal,” Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee when asked about negotiations on market access for U.S. rice in the TPP.
Froman told the House Ways and Means Committee today that “all eyes are on Japan” as Tokyo continues to insist on keeping sensitive products off the table in the TPP, Washington Trade Daily reported.
Froman told the House Ways and Means Committee it is time for Japan to “step up to the plate” and agree to the same level of ambition as other TPP countries, WTD said. He noted that gaps remain in bilateral negotiations with Japan on autos and agricultural market access.
Canada is holding back on making its market access offers until it sees what happens with Japan, Froman added, according to the WTD report.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., suggested it might be time to think about concluding the TPP without Japan if they are not ready to meet the high standards they committed to when the agreed to join the talks, WTD said.
Froman also said, “We can’t have one country feeling entitled to take off the table and exclude vast areas of market access while the other countries are all putting on the table more ambitious offers,” the Financial Times reported.
–The Hagstrom Report