WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 – A coalition of 75 food and agricultural organizations urged the U.S. administration and other countries today to “quickly welcome” Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
“The addition of Japan to the negotiations will exponentially increase the importance of the TPP to U.S. farmers and ranchers, processors and exporters as well as other sectors of the U.S. economy,” the coalition said in a letter to President Obama. “Furthermore, it will spur interest in the TPP among other countries in Asia and Latin America.”
Japan recently announced its intention to join the TPP negotiations, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
The coalition said the inclusion of Japan in the trade talks would generate “enormous interest and support in U.S. agriculture.”
“Allowing Japan to join the talks also will send a strong signal to other nations that efforts to negotiate more open and transparent regional trading arrangements will continue, even as multilateral efforts to do so are stymied,” the coalition said.
Japan’s economy is second only to China’s in the region, and it is fourth largest agricultural export market for the United States despite maintaining substantial import barriers. U.S. food and agricultural exports to Japan in 2012 totaled $13.5 billion. Aside from Canada and Mexico, the next most important agricultural export market among the parties to the TPP is Vietnam, ranking 16th overall and totaling $1.7 billion.
“Japan’s entry into the TPP as a full partner greatly enhances the overall value of this momentous regional free trade agreement,” the coalition said.
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