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TPP debut too late for Malaysia round on tariffs

Kyodo

Japan probably won’t make its debut in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks in time to state its own case during a crucial tariff elimination session, a government source said.

Japan must wait until the United States completes domestic procedures to allow it to participate, and that won’t happen until late in the upcoming round of TPP talks in the Malaysian resort of Kota Kinabalu, probably after the end of the tariff session, the source said Thursday.

The meeting in Malaysia starts Monday and runs until July 25.

Japan wants to retain its tariffs on farm products while having other TPP participating nations eliminate import duties on Japanese automobiles. Market access talks covering tariffs, one of 21 fields in the TPP negotiations, are expected to be held for around five days starting at the opening day of the negotiations in Malaysia, the 18th round of TPP talks.

Japanese negotiators are pursuing ways to make the country’s case on tariff issues on the final day of the Malaysia round, which will be devoted to Japan by the existing 11 members for briefings on the current status of the talks.