BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Japan has proposed tariff cuts for products made from materials produced in countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, negotiation sources said Thursday.
For Japan, the proposal made during the ongoing round of TPP talks in Brunei means lower or no tariffs would be levied on Japanese firms’ products, subsequently boosting their competitiveness against those of countries not included in the TPP.
Twelve members of the TPP talks, including the United States, have been negotiating the rules for setting the scope of tariff reductions and eliminations in the working group for “rules of origin” in the TPP negotiations.
The 19th round is under way from Aug. 22 to Friday as countries aim to conclude a deal by the end of the year.
Japan is seeking a common rule among the TPP countries instead of having variations depending on each member country.
The negotiations on the rules of origin had been stalled, however, as Vietnam has been aiming to expand exports of its apparel and textiles by including those items made from yarn produced in China, a non-TPP member, in the target of tariff cuts and elimination, against the U.S. plan to limit the scope.
To facilitate the talks, the TPP countries have separated the negotiations on textiles from those on rules of origin.
The nine other countries involved in the TPP talks are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore.