TOKYO, May 18 — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reaffirmed that he will not accept any terms that would shift the balance of benefits further in favor of the U.S. in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even if the U.S. might return.
“In the agriculture area, there will be no more concession.” Abe told the lower house cabinet committee on May 17.
“I made the promises to our farmers and I will stick to my guns,” he added.
Abe cited a recent exchange with the U.S. President Donald Trump over the TPP and said: “I made it clear to Mr. Trump that our offer was pretty much the maximum Japan will bear for the agricultural market access.”
In April, Abe and Trump announced at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort club in Florida, that they will start talks on “free, fair and reciprocal trade deals.”
They also said that Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, will head up the new trade talks, reporting to Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
But the announcement has left many questions unanswered, including what type of trade deals the two countries would work on.