John Armstrong reports:
New Zealand ministers have their fingers crossed that a poll of the Japanese public will back Tokyo’s plans to join a Pacific-wide free trade agreement.
The Japanese Cabinet formally approved a new trade policy on Tuesday which will see Japan “gathering further information” before “initiating consultations” with the nine-member Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes New Zealand and the United States.
Despite the cautionary tone of that statement, Trade Minister Tim Groser last night described the Cabinet’s position as the most significant development in Japanese trade policy in the last 25 years. …
Japan’s highly-inefficient farmers have long been sheltered behind high tariff walls, effectively blocking foreign exports, particularly rice and dairy products.
However, big business in Japan is firmly behind the Government amidst feelings that Japan risks falling behind the play unless it secures more free trade deals to safeguard its industrial exports.
A poll in the Daily Yomiuri newspaper had more than 60 per cent of respondents favouring Japan joining the TPP and only 18 per cent against.
This would be amazing if Japan agreed to an FTA which includes agriculture.
The EU may remain the last bastion of protectionism at this rate!