WASHINGTON – A group of U.S. House lawmakers has urged President Barack Obama to press Japan to open its agricultural market under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
In a letter dated Wednesday, the lawmakers asked Obama to exclude Japan from the multilateral free trade negotiations if it is unwilling to open its market to a substantial extent. The letter criticized Japan for seeking to exempt sensitive agricultural products such as beef and pork from complete tariff elimination.
“If accepted, this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market,” the letter said. “We urge you (President Obama) to pursue the TPP negotiations without any country, including Japan . . . that proves unwilling to open its market in accordance with these high standards.”
The letter was signed by 140 lawmakers, representing nearly one-third of the 435 members of the House of Representatives. They included Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrat Devin Nunes, who chairs the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, and Charles Rangel, a Democrat from New York.
The letter comes ahead of two-day bilateral farm tariff talks set to start in Washington on Monday.