Japan initiates TPP ratification process

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Japan’s government announced March 10 that it is initiating efforts for legislative ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The announcement came through adoption of a cabinet resolution that says the Japanese government will submit 11 bills to the Japanese Parliament, known as the Diet, aiming at ratifying TPP and enacting the bills required for approval of TPP, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said.

The government intends to deliberate and pass the bills during the current Diet session that ends on June 1 to avoid making TPP adoption a focal issue during the Japanese general election that is very likely to be called in July.

Japanese trade officials noted that they hope to build momentum towards ratification of the pact in other countries by ensuring Japan takes the lead in proceeding with necessary domestic arrangements. Separately this week, Japanese officials dismissed the suggestion that parts of the agreement could be renegotiated, noting it was hard won and agreed to by all 12 parties at the negotiating table.

The moves from Japan come as it is increasingly clear TPP ratification in many countries will be on a long timeline.

In the U.S., top lawmakers are cautious about addressing the agreement before November’s presidential election, given that many of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have expressed opposition to the accord.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., U.S., has not committed to any timeline for Canadian ratification.

On the other side of the spectrum, Malaysia has signaled that all amendments in relation to TPP compliance may be completed by year end. Other TPP member countries have indicated that they will take most of 2016 to seek approval.

The agreement will enter into force 60 days after all 12 member countries ratify it. If all member nations have not ratified it after two years, it will take effect 60 days after it is ratified by at least six countries accounting for 85% of the combined gross domestic product of the 12 signatories. In practice, this means both the U.S. and Japan must ratify the agreement.

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