By Richard Smith
DTN Japan Correspondent
TOKYO (DTN) -- Ag commodities Japan considers sensitive -- rice, wheat, barley, sugar, starch crops, dairy products, beef, pork -- will not continue to be a stumbling block in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, Japan's TPP Deputy Chief Negotiator Hiroshi Oe told DTN.
Oe spoke to DTN at a Foreign Press Center Japan briefing on Tuesday, but could not disclose the substance of any deals made in the talks. However, he said good progress was made on the agricultural products Japan considers sensitive.
"But even for the products that we liberalized, we expanded the market access," he said.
A 2005 pact between New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, and Singapore (the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership) called for reduction of all tariffs by 90% between member countries by 2006, and reduction to zero by this year. In the past few years, the U.S. and Japan, as well as Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam, have been negotiating to join TPP.
In negotiating to join the TPP, the Japanese government is constrained by domestic demand detailed in a 2013 resolution expressed by the country's governmental body, the Diet. The resolution stated listed ag products considered to be sensitive and said they must be excluded from negotiations, or subject to renegotiation if necessary.
Of course, Japan cannot give 100% satisfaction to the U.S demand (for full liberalization), Oe said. "But I think we are aiming at a mutually agreed agreement," he said.
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