Emphasizing Japan has a large part in writing “the rules of the road” during Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told the Japan National Press Club on Aug. 19 that a strong relationship between Japan and the United States is critical to the success of the partnership.
Froman is in Tokyo drumming up support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will enter its 19th round of negotiations Aug. 23 in Brunei. Japan is a relative newcomer to the talks, which already include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Strong ties bind the United States to the Asian region because of its status as the largest export market for the APEC economies, he told the audience. APEC countries buy more than 60 percent of U.S. exports. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an opportunity to further cement this bond and create more efficiencies and maximize cooperation.
“TPP will reinforce the shared determination of Japan, the United States, and other TPP countries to create a high-standard, comprehensive, job-supporting agreement that addresses 21st century trade issues and introduces new disciplines into the global trading system,” he said in the speech. “It will result in an open and transparent regional economic order that can serve as a roadmap for free, open, and transparent markets across the Asia-Pacific.”
Though the TPP is a massive deal uniting many different countries, U.S. officials are not willing to accept a final partnership agreement that creates winners and losers. Froman made it clear the U.S. government wants to make sure the final agreement is fair to every player in the partnership.
“We are pursuing an agreement on the understanding that it must be beneficial to all — for our consumers, our producers, innovators, and investors; not just for global companies, but for the working citizens and the middle class in all of our countries,” he said. - Jon Ross