(The Japan Agricultural News: October 6, 2015 – Top play)
The ministers of the 12 countries participating in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations reached a broad agreement in Atlanta in the morning of October 5. As part of the accord, Japan will create a new rice import quota totaling 78,000 tons to be allocated to the U.S. and Australia and be pressed to open its market for other sensitive farm produce. The trade pact will mark an extremely important turning point in Japan’s agriculture sector.
The ministers resumed talks in the early morning to confirm agreements made over the duration of data protection for medicines and the market opening of dairy products. Akira Amari, Japan’s minister in charge of TPP matters, told reporters after the meeting, “We confirmed a basic agreement at the overall session.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was informed by Amari of having reached an agreement. At the Prime Minister’s Office, he commented that “the government is responsible for protecting our beautiful countryside,” indicating he is planning to work out domestic measures. “We managed to protect key farm produce, such as rice, beef, pork and dairy products, from tariff elimination,” he added.
Japan and the U.S. had worked out a deal on the special import quota of U.S. rice. Their bilateral talks continued till a joint press conference was convened after the ministerial meeting.
The government will set up a TPP task force this week to discuss measures concerning the agricultural sector, which will be hit by the trade accord.
Due to U.S. domestic procedures, the signing of the accord and Diet deliberations are expected to take place early next year.