Category Archives: Trade Talks

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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Shinzo Abe asks UK to ease Brexit’s impact on Japanese firms

TOKYO, Sept. 1 ─ UK Prime Minister Theresa May is eager for a swift, bilateral trade agreement with Japan after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to keep options open until the shape of the UK-EU deal becomes clear. Abe met May in Tokyo on Aug. 31 when she made her first official visit to Japan to discuss trade and investment as well as security cooperation. During the meeting, Abe asked May to keep Tokyo fully informed about the ongoing Brexit negotiations in order to minimize the impact on Japanese companies. Japanese companies, including Toyota, Nissan and Honda, together employ tens of … Continue reading

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TPP-11 nations agree to freeze drug monopoly protection period

TOKYO, Aug. 31 ─ The 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have agreed to put a provision for drug monopoly protection period on ice, until the United States returns to the TPP. Senior trade officials from the 11 members met in Sydney to discuss how the TPP is being implemented without the U.S. at a three-day meeting that ended on Aug. 30. The drug monopoly protection of eight years was one of the thorniest issues that many members had to concede to U.S. demands during the TPP negotiations. During the Sydney meeting, some members also asked to revise other issues such as investment protection. In the meantime, Tokyo didn’t … Continue reading

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Japan safeguard has no impact on US beef price, says minister

TOKYO, Aug. 30 ─ One month after Japan raised tariffs on frozen beef imports from the United States, Agriculture Minister Ken Saito said it has so far had no adverse impact on the price of US frozen beef. U.S. meat exporters have criticized the so-called special safeguard (SSG) measure as an “artificial barrier” saying it unfairly distorts the Japanese beef market and punishes both U.S. producers and Japanese consumers. Japan imposed the SSG on beef imports from Aug. 01 for the first time in 14 years due to a surge in imports of frozen beef in recent months. It mainly affects the U.S. producers because they are the main suppliers … Continue reading

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Japan, EU remain at odds in talks over investment protection

TOKYO, Aug. 27 ─ Successful conclusion of the Japan and EU free trade agreement by the end of 2017 seems increasingly doubtful as the European Commission insists it will not agree to include a controversial investment protection provision in the accord. “It is worrying; we have major differences,” said a senior Japanese government official on condition of anonymity. The so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision allows foreign investors or companies to sue governments over regulations if they allegedly harm their investments. Tokyo is eager to include the ISDS, which is also part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade agreements with Japan. Brussels wants the ISDS system to … Continue reading

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