The Japanese government has started to consider reducing or removing tariffs on some items that fall under five key farm product categories — rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and sugar — in ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact.
The government will try to secure an agreement in the free trade talks by expanding imports of farm products in its so-called “sacred areas” from TPP partners. But Japan is faced with high-level demands from its counterparts as many countries taking part in the TPP negotiations have been pressing Japan to abolish tariffs on all products including rice. Japan will explore the possibility of reaching a compromise with other countries during talks among chief TPP negotiators due to open in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Nov. 19. Nevertheless, Japan is expected to go defensive in the face of a hardline stance taken by the United States and other countries.
In past negotiations, the United States urged Japan to eliminate tariffs on all products except rice. Most other negotiating countries, including Singapore and New Zealand, demanded Japan scrap tariffs on all products including rice. But Japan rejected both moves.
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