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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 January 29 - February 4  > JCP Yamashita demands withdrawal from TPP free trade talks
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2014 January 29 - February 4 [POLITICS]

JCP Yamashita demands withdrawal from TPP free trade talks

January 31, 2014
Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Yamashita Yoshiki on January 30 at a plenary session of the House of Councilors demanded Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks.

Yamashita pointed out that in the U.S., a bill to grant President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was submitted to Congress on January 9. The bill requires Obama to work to reduce negotiating countries’ agricultural tariffs to the same level as the U.S. or lower through the TPP negotiations.

It is thus highly doubtful that the PM will be able to keep his promise to maintain tariffs on Japan’s key agricultural products including rice, the JCP Dietmember said.

Currently, Japan imposes on imported rice a tariff of 402 yen/kg while the U.S. tariff on rice is only 1.4 cents/kg (less than 1 yen). Lowering the tariff to the U.S. level for Japan is tantamount to abolishing it.

Yamashita said that if the PM keeps insisting that he will “protect what should be protected,” he should present grounds for making such a statement or else he should decide to withdraw from the TPP negotiations immediately.

PM Abe refused to comment on the TPA bill saying that it is a U.S. concern and is not enacted yet anyway. He repeated his explanation that Japan will seek a way to best serve national interests in the TPP talks.
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