【News】 Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Aso emphasizes difference between TPP multilateral talks and Japan-U.S. bilateral negotiations (April 26, 2017)

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso said on April 25 his government will not guarantee the United States to offer deals similar to those agreed in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact if Japan decides to purse a bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S., stressing that Japan’s gains in the bilateral trade talk differ from those in multilateral negotiations.

By responding to a question raised at the session of the House of Councilors’ Committee on Financial Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister Aso emphasized the Japanese stance that his administration will not respond a request on removal or cuts of import tariffs of farm products exceeding the level agreed at the TPP negotiations.

He also revealed at the committee meeting that he delivered this message to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross when he had respectively met them in Tokyo this April.

Deputy Prime Minister Aso told the committee members that Japan had made a concession to the U.S. in the agricultural fields at the TPP free trade negotiations because his government judged that it would be able to earn alternative profits from TPP member countries other than the U.S.

Supposing Japan-U.S. free trade negotiations take place, it will not be possible for Japan to balance out the gains and losses as it did at the TPP multilateral trade talks, Deputy Prime Minster Aso added, saying “We will not be able to offer similar deals to the United States even if we talk with the U.S. government in various trade matters such as agriculture.”

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