TOKYO, April 4 — Contrary to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), whose texts won’t be made public for some time, the remaining 11 members have not been asked to sign an agreement promising to keep the revised trade pact secret.
“There is no such agreement among the TPP-11 members,” Japan’s director-general for the TPP, Kazuhisa Shibuya, told the upper house agriculture committee on April 3.
“But you should not be surprised that this is essentially the same as the context for practicing regular diplomacy, we do not to disclose any documents for some time,” he added.
In the original TPP, the trade agreement text will be kept secret for four years after entry into force of the trade pact.
The TPP had been heavily criticized because politicians and ordinary people were largely excluded from the negotiations, leaving it in the hands of multinational corporations.
While negotiating the revised trade pact, now renamed the Comprehensive Progressive TPP (CPTPP), Japan didn’t put in agriculture proposals to scale back market access on the table even after the U.S. left the pact.
Instead, the remaining 11 members including Japan inserted a clause in the agreement, stipulating that they will renegotiate the deal if any country requests it and if there is no prospect the U.S. will return to the TPP.
Yet, observers and farm lobbyists have said privately that the parameter of the clause may not allow Tokyo to renegotiate market access by scaling back tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for sensitive dairy products.