A public hearing began Tuesday on Japan’s proposed participation in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, with representatives of various U.S. industries pressing their points over the matter.
Business lobbies such as the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan backed a TPP including Japan, while automobile-related organizations expressed opposition for fear of increases in imported vehicles from Japan.
The event was a step before President Barack Obama’s administration gives the final green light, possibly on July 23, to Japan joining the United States and 10 other countries in the ongoing talks on the trade pact, through policy coordination with Congress.
Wendy Cutler, assistant U.S. trade representative in charge of Japanese affairs, said at the hearing, “Japan is an important market for the United States” although there are long-standing issues such as nontariff barriers while the participation of Japan, which is the fourth largest U.S. trader partner, increases the economic value of TPP agreement.
Officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Treasury, Commerce, Labor and State departments attended the event that was aimed at sharing opinions with business organizations including those in the auto, agriculture and insurance industries.
ACCJ President Laurence Bates said, “Japan has made significant economic reform in the past years, benefiting the United States. Japan’s markets are more open than ever.”