Japan shows renewed interest in joining free-trade deal

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Japan has again showed interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) .

According to Japanese newspaper reports, the new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hinted at joining the free-trade deal.

The TPP is the first international commercial agreement pursued by the U.S. It links Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada into a “free trade” zone.

It sets binding rules on service-sector regulation, investment, patents and copyrights, government procurement, financial regulation, and labor and environmental standards, as well as trade in industrial

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner New Komeito “will pursue the best path that would serve Japan’s national interest”, they said in their final coalition agreement, ” the report stated.

The TPP is believed by some to be a means to counter China’s dominance in the region. This agreement is a core part of the “Asia pivot” by the Obama Administration.

South Korea has also expressed interest in joining.

Japan joined as an observer in the TPP discussions in 2010 Japan is regarded as a potential future member but it would have to open its agricultural market.

Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines have also expressed interest in TPP membership.

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