TOKYO, Nov. 10, Kyodo — Japanese business leaders called Thursday for President-elect Donald Trump to ensure an early U.S. ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.
Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation known as Keidanren, said the pact will create “economic order based on common values and principles” and lead to stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Japan’s lower house voted Thursday to ratify the 12-nation TPP that would cover 40 percent of the global economy and passed a related bill amid a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees free trade as the key to growth under his “Abenomics” policy mix.
“We hope that the upper house will approve it after swift deliberations and encourage the United States and other TPP-participating countries to speed up their own domestic processes,” Sakakibara said in a statement.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s presidential election, the Republican standard-bearer had expressed opposition to the TPP. The United States and Japan would together account for 80 percent of the free trade bloc.
Japanese executives have expressed concern about future economic and trade policies under Trump as the United States is a major trading partner for Japan.
Prospects appear dim for the U.S. Congress to ratify the TPP during President Barack Obama’s “lame duck” period through January.
“The situation (surrounding the pact) is difficult,” said Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, head of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.
“Japan, for its part, needs to prioritize enacting the legislation because it is important to show to the United States Japan’s unwavering will never to let (the pact) take a step back,” Kobayashi said.
Akio Mimura, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also expressed the view that Japan taking the lead in ratifying carries great importance.
Mimura urged the Abe administration to “strongly encourage” the United States and other countries to follow suit.