WASHINGTON – Trade negotiators said Japan has offered to eliminate tariffs on 75 percent of imports within the first year of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a source said.
The negotiators also agreed to finalize offers from all 12 countries involved in the free trade talks by Oct. 17, with the aim of concluding a deal by the end of the year, the source said Saturday.
It is the first time negotiators have specified a date for concluding the pact. Previous reports suggested it would take place some time in October.
An undisclosed number of other countries also vowed to eliminate tariffs at the talks in Washington on Saturday, offering different percentages.
Japan’s tariffs on the remaining 25 percent of goods are expected to be removed within 10 years, based on a prevailing view among TPP members that tariffs for goods not offered for elimination in the first year should be slashed within this time frame, the source said.
Other countries involved requested a secondary phase-out period of up to 17 years, but this is expected to be opposed by other TPP members, the source said.
The U.S.-led TPP requires in principle that tariffs on all products be eliminated.
The negotiations began in 2010, but Japan waited until July to join.