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Senior U.S. Commerce Department official hopes for early TPP ratification

  • 2016-02-05 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: February 5, 2016 – p. 6)


 Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan Selig, who is involved with TPP issues in the U.S., gave an interview to Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Tokyo where he stated that “support for the TPP is growing in the U.S.,” indicating he hopes for the early ratification of the TPP agreement. He also spoke of his intent to help U.S. small and mid-size enterprises that have a low ratio of exports in their sales to take advantage of the TPP to expand exports.


 According to Selig, over 95% of U.S. companies do not export at all. Pointing out that “the TPP is an excellent opportunity for small and mid-size businesses to begin exporting,” he indicated the government’s plan to offer active assistance, such as by providing export knowhow. Workshops on the TPP for small and mid-size enterprises have already been held in more than 100 U.S. cities. He said: “We will make every effort to broaden understanding.”


 The ROK, Thailand, and other countries have expressed an interest in becoming new TPP members. Selig cited the environmental and intellectual property protection standards set under the TPP and emphasized that “while the door is open for new participants, it is important for them to demonstrate their ability to meet the high standards.”


 With regard to the possibility of China’s membership, Selig explained: “To be honest, there are many areas that need improvement.”


 Commenting on the resignation of former Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Economic Revitalization Akira Amari, who oversaw Japan’s negotiating team in the TPP talks, Selig said: “I believe in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strong determination to ratify the TPP agreement,” indicating that he had “absolutely no concern” about any setback in the domestic procedures in Japan.


 The export industries in the U.S. have been hard hit by the appreciation of the dollar and economic recession in the newly emerging nations. Selig stated emphatically: “The environment is growing harsher, so the TPP accord needs to take effect as soon as possible.”


 Selig showed confidence that the ongoing free trade talks with the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, “can be concluded within this year.”


 He said: “An agreement will be difficult to achieve after President Obama’s term of office,” so “we are redoubling our efforts to reach agreement before the end of this year.”

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