Category Archives: Trade Talks

EU experts agree to relax Fukushima-made rice restrictions

TOKYO, Sept. 27 — European food safety experts have approved the relaxation of food import restrictions from Japanese regions hit by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. That will likely pave the way for the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, to allow some Japanese agriculture products, including Fukushima-made rice, to enter the bloc without radiation testing certification. On Sept. 25, the EU standing committee on food safety approved a proposal by the commission to remove radiation testing certification on some foods from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant areas, before they are granted access into European markets. Currently, food imports from the regions need to be accompanied … Continue reading

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TPP11 talks end with inching closer for a new deal without US

TOKYO, Sept.23 — The 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have made some progress by narrowing down the list of provisions that will be put on ice until the United States returns to the TPP. Senior trade officials met in Tokyo to discuss what provisions of the deal to be shelved at a two-day meeting that ended Sept. 22. In the meeting, they agreed to cut back the number of shelved provisions in rule-making areas to about 50, down from some 70, informed sources said. At the previous meeting in Sydney in August, they agreed to shelve a provision for drug monopoly protection period in the chapter for intellectual … Continue reading

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Japan pushing for fresh TPP deal without US by November

TOKYO, Sept. 14 — Japan has been pushing for expedited trade talks with the 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in meetings with their ambassadors in Tokyo to complete a fresh agreement by November that would bring into force without the United States. Yet, it is unclear if the TPP could be totally salvaged in the next two months, as there is still a lot remaining, informed sources said. Japan’s TPP Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met with ambassadors from 11 members, such as Vietnam and Malaysia, on Sept. 13. He asked them to narrow down the list of issues that will be on ice until the U.S. returns to the … Continue reading

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US ambassador urges Japan to review frozen beef safeguard

TOKYO, Sept. 13 — A top U.S. official has urged Japan to review the special safeguard (SSG) measure that Tokyo imposed on frozen beef imports in August. “I strongly raised the issue,” U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty told reporters in Tokyo after meeting Japanese Agriculture Minister Ken Saito on Sept. 12. The U.S. and Australia account for nearly 90 percent of Japan’s frozen beef imports, but the measure affects only the U.S. because it doesn’t have a free trade agreement with Japan. U.S. officials and meat exporters have criticized the trade remedy as an artificial barrier, and the issue is likely to be taken up at a second round of the … Continue reading

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Japan to keep pushing EU to relax restrictions on food imports from Japan: farm minister

TOKYO, Sept. 13 – Agriculture minister Ken Saito said Tuesday the government will strengthen efforts to urge the European Union to ease restrictions imposed on Japanese food imports over the Fukushima nuclear disaster, after the European Parliament’s environment committee adopted a resolution earlier this month condemning the European Commission’s plans to relax controls on the imports. “If they look at the current situation of Japan-made food products based on scientific grounds, I believe the moves to ease restrictions will be accelerated,” Saito said at a regular news conference after the Cabinet meeting. In July, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced a draft amendment to its regulation on imports … Continue reading

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