US Confident Of TPP Deal By Year-End After Japan Entry

Via Bernama

US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, expressed confidence on Thursday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks will reach a conclusion by the end of this year after the entry of Japan, Japan's Jiji Press reported.

Asked if Japan's participation in the TPP talks may cause a delay in negotiations, Froman said in testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee: "We had extensive consultations with Japan prior to agreeing to allow them to join TPP...on agriculture issues, on insurance and on the auto sector."

"We've reached some upfront agreements in certain areas," he said, citing as an example a Japanese decision to ease import restrictions on American beef.

Froman further said that it was important for the United States that Japan agreed and "that everything's on the table".

"We have not agreed to any upfront exclusions with regard to Japanese agriculture," he added.

Japan is expected to make its debut in the TPP talks during the ongoing session in Malaysia following the completion of US procedures to approve its entry.

On whether a clause authorising sanctions against currency manipulation should be included in the TPP pact, Froman said: "We share the concerns about currency." He however did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, referring to the TPP talks in Malaysia, Froman expressed his determination to reach a high-standard agreement in a bid to boost trade and create new employment opportunities.

"It's better to have no agreement than bad agreement," he said.

Ainsley Shea