【News】 Japan-EU EPA negotiations: LDP Diet members’ caucus opposes to tariff cuts on agricultural products more than TPP free trade pact (Jan. 17, 2017)

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Diet Members’ Caucus for Measures for Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, chaired by Hiroshi Okada, member of the House of Representatives, held the first general meeting in Tokyo on January 16.

“The Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement or EPA must be made so that the Agreement will not adversely affect agricultural, forestry and fishery industries in Japan. We need to fully give assurance to our producers that they will be able to continue their reproduction,” Koya Nishikawa, Chairman of LDP’s Research Commission on Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food Strategy, said at the general meeting.

A number of Diet members attending the meeting made statements one after another, urging the importance of disclosing information on the EPA negotiations as well as protecting key products of domestic agriculture.

“Levels of trade liberalization agreed at the TPP free trade negotiations will be kept in mind at the EPA talks with EU. But we have no intention of making any concessions exceeding the levels of tariff cuts agreed in the TPP pact,” Koya Nishikawa told the press after the general meeting.

LDP caucus’s chairman Okada also emphasized his stance, saying “I will closely watch the EPA negotiations not to make our negotiators slash tariffs on farm products more than the level of the TPP agreement.”

Among EU member countries, however, there are several countries that have some farm products more competitive internationally than TPP member countries.

The ruling party LDP is now required to carefully ascertain whether the level of trade liberalization similar to that of TPP free trade pact will not bring about any serious effects on agricultural production in the country.

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