With the aim of concluding an economic partnership agreement, Japan and European lead negotiators resumed discussions on Jan. 17 in Brussels. The participants will concentrate on negotiating outstanding issues that include tariffs on agricultural products and automobiles. The Japanese government hopes to reach a broad agreement on essential components of an agreement by February.
Meanwhile, an LDP group, “Parlitmentarians’ League for Measures to Deal with a Japan-EU EPA,” held a general meeting on Jan. 16 at the LDP headquarters. During the meeting, the league chairman, Hiroshi Okada, said, “We are concerned that removal of tariffs on pork and other products will have a significant effect on the domestic market. We would no longer be able to apply the brakes to market liberalization.” The league reiterated its opposition to the EU’s request for removal of the tariff on pork and dairy products, and reemphasized its intention to prevent any concessions that might result in a higher level of liberalization than the level under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
The league, with an eye on the next Lower House election, plans to block the government’s moves. (Abridged)