(Nikkei: January 23, 2016 – p. 5)
The government decided on Jan. 22 on a system for drawing up measures for agriculture under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact. Since expanding exports of agricultural products is an important issue, the government will set up a public-private working group and work out concreate measures by June. The government’s Industrial Competitiveness Council and the Council for Regulatory Reform will compile reform proposals for reducing the prices of farm materials and reviewing the distribution and processing systems for farm produce. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) will look into measures for other issues such as developing human resources.
The government allocated the budget for the first round of TPP measures in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2015. It will now consider the second round of measures and work out the specifics by the fall.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Jan. 22 at the MAFF headquarters: “Export promotion is the top priority in the new age for agricultural policy.” In addition to officials from relevant ministries, JA Zen-Noh Meat Foods Co. President Takashi Kimura, Mitsubishi Co. Chairman Yorihiko Kojima, Yamato Transport Co. President Yutaka Nagao, and FamilyMart President Isamu Nakayama will join the public-private council, which will be headed by Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari. (Abridged)