The head of Japan’s powerful agricultural lobby said Tuesday he told a U.S. trade official that the group will keep opposing the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership even after Japan joins negotiations for the free trade pact.
Akira Banzai, president of the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, told a press conference in Washington that he told Wendy Cutler, assistant U.S. trade representative in charge of Japanese affairs, of the position during a meeting the same day.
Banzai quoted Cutler as saying she recognizes the union’s position but that the Japanese government has already agreed to work on achieving a high-standard and comprehensive agreement putting all items on the negotiation table.
The farm body has long opposed Japan’s joining the trade talks, saying the elimination of tariffs would damage the country’s farming sector with a possible influx of cheap imports once trade is liberalized.
Banzai also pressed the union’s case during meetings with officials of U.S. agricultural groups such as the USA Rice Federation after he arrived in the United States on Sunday.
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