SAPPORO – Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura has predicted tariffs will remain on certain products even if Japan’s joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, apparently seeking to ease domestic farmers’ opposition to the free-trade initiative.
“I cannot envisage any case where tariffs would be eliminated without exception in the initial phase (of trade liberalization under the TPP),” Yonekura, who head’s Japan’s biggest business lobby, said in a speech in Sapporo.
While countries allowed to participate in the ongoing TPP negotiations are required to put all products up for tariff elimination, Yonekura said different nations have some products that can’t be subjected to this process for political reasons.
Even the United States, which is spearheading talks to form the regional trade pact, will probably seek to have some items exempted from tariff elimination, Yonekura added.
The government is seeking to join the TPP talks but farming lobbies remain fiercely opposed, fearing the move would lead to cheaper farm imports flooding the domestic market.
Biz group eyes DPJ talks
Keidanren, the nation’s top business group, will discuss national policies Friday with executives of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, sources said Wednesday. Specifically, Keidanren is seeking passage of DPJ-sponsored bills to issue deficit-covering bonds and to initiate partial rectification of the vote-value disparity in the electoral system.
Sources said the meeting will be attended by Keidanren chief Hiromasa Yonekura, DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi and Deputy Secretary General Jun Azumi, as well as the ruling party’s policy chief, Goshi Hosono, and Diet affairs head, Kazunori Yamanoi, among others.
Yonekura and other leaders of Keidanren exchanged opinions on government policies with the Liberal Democratic Party’s leadership on Oct. 9.