A group of NGOs representing the Anti-FTA Coalition gathered on Thursday, 3 Dec 2010 at the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry to hand over a memorandum addressed to the Minister to register their concerns over Malaysia’s plan to enter into negotiations with the EU (bilateral) as well as the US (via the Trans-Pacific Partnership) which will take place next week in Belgium and New Zealand, respectively.
The APEC summit in Yokohama was a key event by any standard. For many Japanese, however, one issue overshadowed all the rest, and it didn’t even take center stage: the Trans-Pacific Partnership, discussed by leaders of nine of the countries on the summit’s sidelines.
The Japanese government said Friday it will set up a task force to discuss agricultural reforms as it seeks out more free-trade agreements with other economies.
The backlash from the Japanese farming lobby against the TPP is already looking savage and it seems safe to predict that this will prove to be the case elsewhere in Asia as negotiations on the TPP push on apace.
The Harper government is eyeing a new Asia-Pacific economic block — the Trans-Pacific Partnership — and may be willing to negotiate aspects of Canada’s supply management system for certain farm products in order to get in.
Japan’s agriculture industry is in the spotlight as a result of the government’s interest in a US-backed trans-Pacific free-trade agreement that could scrap high tariffs on heavily protected products such as rice.
Hundreds of people staged a rally Saturday in central Yokohama to voice their opposition to Japan and other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum members taking steps to accelerate "unprincipled" trade liberalization, saying the measures would destroy people’s livelihoods and devastate farmers.
Academics, unions and consumers groups in Australia, New Zealand and United States have strongly criticised the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade arrangement.
On Wednesday 10 November a group of academics, media and politicos gathered at Victoria University’s Rutherford House to launch a remarkable book about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The complete audio from the launch is contained in this report.
“We think we are not ready yet because the agreement is very hard for the local industry,” Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said
The US is pushing to complete trade talks with nine Asia-Pacific countries by late next year that lays the groundwork for a bigger agreement that includes China, Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.
In the TPP summit, the leaders are expected to formally welcome Malaysia as the group’s latest member, according to sources close to the negotiating countries.
If agriculture was off the Trans-Pacific Partnership table as far as Japan was concerned, then New Zealand did not want to see Japan around the TPP negotiating table. "It’s as simple as that."
Atsushi Kono considers it the gravest threat to his family’s farm in a century of rice-growing: a free-trade initiative that could dismantle Japan’s sky-high protective farming tariffs, finally opening up the country to cheap, foreign produce.
Thousands of Japanese farmers rallied on Wednesday to demand their government steer clear of a US-led free trade initiative which would open the heavily protected agricultural sector to fierce competition.
An estimated 3,000 Japanese farmers converged in Tokyo on Wednesday to protest against Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would destroy Japanese agriculture and community
Japanese farmers voiced concerns Tuesday about the day’s decision by the Cabinet to begin consultations with the United States and other countries to forge a trans-Pacific free-trade agreement, saying further liberalization of trade would deal them a heavy blow.
The TPPA would impose the most far-reaching obligations on New Zealand since the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia, deepening our commitment to free market policies that affect our jobs, our social and cultural well-being, and ultimately the sovereignty to make decisions as a nation.
The Japanese government did not clearly state its stance in the basic FTA policy it set out Saturday and only stipulated that it will start approaching the countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks.
Japan is having trouble forging a consensus on joining an Asia-Pacific free trade initiative, a pact that business lobbies want the government to pursue but that long-protected and politically powerful farmers are resisting.