U.S. and Japan must seal the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

download (6)Let’s not lose sight of these other machinations going on under the radar, while we may be distracted by other newsworthy items:

Washington Post

THE TRANS-PACIFIC Partnership has been described as the centerpiece of President Obama’s attempt to “pivot” U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and with good reason. A proposed trade liberalization agreement among 12 nations, the TPP would, in binding the United States more closely with a portion of the world, collectively account for 40 percent of global output. At the same time, it would ensure that this huge area, including giants such as Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia, conducts business according to U.S.-style rules on tariffs, regulation and intellectual property. China would be left on the sidelines, along with its mercantilist model of international commerce — unless and until it modifies that approach. The net effect would be a better balance of power, money and ideas between the United States and its allies on the one hand and China on the other.

To reap these strategic benefits, of course, the United States and the other 11 would-be members of the TPP must first cut a deal. As a practical matter, that means everyone is waiting for a “yes” between Washington and Tokyo, the two biggest economies in the group, and the two with the most divergent approaches, historically, to trade. When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last year to pursue a TPP deal , he seemed to be making an historic decision to open his country’s long-closed domestic markets — not only to satisfy long-standing U.S. complaints about Japanese protectionism but also to subject Japan’s stagnant economy to the bracing effects of competition. Lately, however, talks have stalled over age-old issues such as Japan’s high tariffs on U.S. meat and its non-tariff barriers (regulations and such) against U.S. autos.

Now, as President Obama embarks on an Asian trip, the highlight of which will be a state visit to Japan, pessimism about the two countries’ ability to reach a TPP deal is growing. Japan alone is not to blame:Congress has failed to grant Mr. Obama “fast-track” authority to speed lawmakers’ approval of a deal once it’s negotiated. That ostensible sign of flagging U.S. interest weakened the U.S. negotiating team’s position and reinforced deep-seated resistance to trade liberalization among Japan’s political interest groups.Mr. Obama and Mr. Abe must use this state visit to shore up U.S.-Japan relations and to refocus their respective publics on what’s really at stake. The world remains fraught with geopolitical risks. China’s rise is not the only danger — as Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s seizure of Crimea has shown. Among the best safeguards against these risks are the United States’ traditional alliances such as NATO and the 50-year-oldmutual-defense pact that has bound the United States and Japan . The Trans-Pacific Partnership would augment and update that long-standing partnership.

Trade specialists from the respective countries can haggle forever about how many U.S. pork bellies get to enter Tokyo. And they might do just that, unless their leaders make it crystal clear that the time has come for compromise in both countries’ higher economic and strategic interest. This week’s meeting is a golden opportunity to send that message.



2 thoughts on “U.S. and Japan must seal the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

  1. Horse manure. This has nothing to do with American pork bellies or automobiles being sent to Japan. All that will be going in that direction is raw resources so manufactured products can be sent back here for sale, because no one wants to pay American workers. They’re only interested in taking the last of the money you have. The Wahington Post is also trying to make this deal look like a blow to China to help the American people accept it.

    Also worth noticing is how Obama is referred to as “Mr. Obama” rather than “President Obama”, which would be the proper, and traditional way of addressing him, or mentioning him in print. I’m not saying that Obama deserves an ounce of respect, but his office does, or at least it always did in the past. I think this is a subtle attempt to undermine U.S. sovereignty in the minds of the readers, and it may also be why we have a president who wasn’t born here. Was the “birther” debate actually an intentional ad campaign to drive home the unimportance of being American? Is it no coincidence that we’re now being shown another foreigner as a potential candidate? (Cruz) They may seem like minor details, but the psychological result is that people are being conditioned to view being American as irrelevant.

  2. What I find interesting is that most of the people (who manage to tune into what’s happening under the radar) oppose this, regardless of political stripe. This is economic rape.

    This ties into the oligarchy article posted here earlier today. Who supports free trade agreements? Who do they benefit? Not the American people (workers).

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *