Japan OKs Pacific trade pact that Trump plans to dump
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won parliamentary approval Friday for ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite US President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw from the 12-nation trade pact.
Upper house lawmakers approved the TPP on Friday, heeding Abe’s calls to push ahead with it despite Trump’s rejection of the free-trade initiative championed by President Barack Obama.
Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has an ample majority in both houses of parliament. Ratification of needed regulatory revisions by the Cabinet is expected soon.
The market opening measures required by the trade pact are seen as a way for Abe to push through difficult reforms of the agricultural and health sectors. So far, Abe has made scant progress on a slew of changes he has proposed to help improve Japan’s lagging productivity and competitiveness.
Trump has vowed to take steps to exit the pact right after he takes office. A US withdrawal would kill the trade pact unless its terms are revised. The agreement between the dozen members requires both the US and Japan to join to attain the required 85 percent of the group’s total GDP since the US economy accounts for 60 percent of that total, and Japan less than 20 percent.
After expending political capital to fight vested interests fearful of market opening and reforms likely to be required by the trade pact, Abe and other leaders in Asia have bemoaned the impending loss of the US as TPP flag bearer. —AP