New round of Japan/US TPP talks begin

A bilateral ministerial meeting between Japan and the US began today to discuss certain points in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal.

Both Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari and US Trade Representative Michael Froman will attend the meeting.

A working-level discussion took place over the weekend that organised talking points for this week's meeting.

Today’s talks focus on solving the two country’s disagreements about five farm product categories protected by Japan, including beef and pork.

Specifically for these talks, the largest issue will be whether the two sides and agree on conditions for Japan to set up emergency restrictions on US beef if imports surge after Japan cuts tariffs.

Japan is concerned that its protected agriculture industry may become susceptible to import swamping by other TPP participants, especially by the US and other TPP agricultural giants.

Japan and the US are two of the largest players in the TPP talks and the course of their discussions is key to completing the agreement.

The talks will span Tuesday and Wednesday (US eastern standard time).

nsmith@nbr.co.nz