US and Japan Confirm Cooperation for End of Year TPP Deal

Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said Tuesday he agreed with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the two countries would cooperate toward the completion of talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement by the end of the year.

“We confirmed Japan and the United States will work together to conclude the TPP negotiations by year-end,” Aso said at a press conference following the meeting with Lew in Tokyo.

But Tokyo and Washington have not necessarily agreed on details of the free trade agreement.

While the U.S-led TPP calls for elimination of all tariffs, Japan has been seeking to protect its agricultural sector by retaining tariffs it levies on imports of rice, wheat, beef, pork, dairy products and sugar, as well as some other products.

Lew, on his first visit to Japan since assuming his post in February, held separate meetings later Tuesday with fiscal policy minister Akira Amari, who doubles as TPP minister, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Amari told reporters after meeting with Lew that he explained to the treasury secretary that trade in rice and certain other key farm products is extremely sensitive for Japan, and the way in which they are handled in TPP talks is a politically very important issue.

via Mainichi

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza