All other countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations except the United States are urging Japan to abolish tariffs on all products, including rice, sources said Friday.
Although Tokyo has rejected eliminating tariffs on the key farm products of rice, wheat, beef, pork, dairy products and sugar to keep its highly protected agricultural sector safe from an influx of cheap imports, it may be forced to make a concession in the face of such strong pressure.
As the 12-member framework aims to eliminate all tariffs, the 10 countries have also urged Japan to suggest what moratoriums it may require for removing tariffs on the sensitive farm products, but Japan has rejected the idea, the sources said.
The United States urged Japan last month to eliminate tariffs on all products except rice, a staple part of the Japanese diet, suggesting around 10 years of moratoriums for other farm tariffs, but Japan rejected the proposal, other sources said earlier.
Aiming to conclude a deal by year’s end, the 12 TPP members will hold a six-day meeting of top negotiators in Salt Lake City from Tuesday and ministerial talks in Singapore from Dec. 7 to 9.
The participating countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.