Japan enters TPP

Claire Trevett reports:

Japan has been allowed to enter the Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks by the 11 countries already in negotiations.

Trade Minister Tim Groser announced Japan’s entry had been agreed on from Indonesia where TPP talks were held on the sidelines of the APEC trade ministers’ meeting.

New Zealand has been cautious about Japan’s entry into the talks because of its protectionist policies and high tariffs especially in horticulture and agriculture.

Mr Groser gave New Zealand’s final approval after meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economic Revitalisation, Akira Amari who had assured him Japan was committed to a comprehensive agreement.

There are some risk with having Japan join the TPP negotiations, but also great potential benefits. They are a major trading partner for NZ, and getting a reduction in trade tariffs would be very good for New Zealand.

The US proposals for the intellectual property chapter are unacceptable, as they are not balanced enough. Our current law is pretty good (not perfect) in reflecting the balance of rights when it comes to intellectual property. I want New Zealand to maintain the stance they have had for the last two to three years on the intellectual property chapter – which is no change to domestic law.

If a TPP can be concluded with an acceptable intellectual property chapter, I’d regard that as a very good thing.

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