11 June, 2012
The TPP prior consultation seems like a political game checking on each other and not going straight on as always. P9 ministers didn’t make any decision at their June meeting in Russia to discuss again in San Diego.
And in Japan, the Noda Administration is fully occupied with consumption tax issue and reoperation of a nuclear power plant for the time being.
With respect to geopolitics in Central, East and South East Asia, US allies including Japan, Australia, Korea and some ASEAN countries, andSCO are busy checking on each other.
＜Clippings from The Nikkei Newspaper＞
１，June 5 edition:Report from Nikkei Washington Office:
Automobile, another “political game” , the US not expecting significant increase of car export to Japan?
The purpose of opposing Japan’s entry into TPP is for the Big Three to maintain the high import tariff (2.5% for cars and 25% for trucks) according to a US lawyer familiar with the industry. They cannot claim maintain high tariff at the cost of being criticized as protectionists. Their target are rising countries, not expecting much in Japanese market.
For President Obama who is losing the approval rate, he cannot ignore UAW even its membership has dropped from 1.5 million to 0.4 million and he has to keep telling “government motors” as a symbol of the revival of
US car industry (a veteran lobbyist). Now therefore, USTR pushes only those demands to which Japan can finally
concede and declare the success of the prior consultation (a former USTR official).
2， June 05, 6 and 7 edition:
A. Which side is he on, the new Agricultural Minister of the reshuffled Japanese cabinet?
Mr. Gunji, the new Minister commented in his first press conference that nation-wide discussion should further be continued. He used to be working at an agricultural cooperative and is also a vice chairman of the lawmakers group to cautiously consider the TPP. But, as an executive member of the Political Affairs Research Committee,he never made a definite statement to oppose the TPP.He cannot be compared to his predecessor, Mr.Kano who contributed to Mr.Noda’s election to the head of the ruling party.
B. Mr. Edano, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry met with his counterparts attending APEC Trade Minister Meeting in Russia and exchanged information on prior consultation for the TPP negotiation.
Mexico said they had almost completed all the consultation with some minor matters left with the US. Mr.Edano also met with USTR Ron Kirk with little progress spending most of the time for automobile matters.
C. P9 countries’ Trade Ministers met in Kazan and agreed to hold P9 Summit Meeting in September in Russia. As for entry of the three countries, they agreed to continue prior consultations.
D. Chinese and Russian Presidents met in Beijing and agreed on security
cooperation to check on US presence in Asia. Having cancelled his attendance at G8 Summit in Washington, Mr. Putin visited China for the first time after presidential election except former Soviet Union and announced his foreign policy of attaching greater importance to cooperation with China in relation to security in Asian Pacific. China shall be the strategic partner, while former Soviet Union is “areas under Russian influence”, and EU is the biggest trade partner for Russia.
On 6 and 7 June, SCO Summit Meeting was held in China and adopted a Joint Declaration to fight terrorism and a Mid-Term Strategic Development Plan for regional cooperation. SCO now has expanded to 14 countries including eight neighboring “associate countries” and “dialogue countries.”
3， June 07 edition: Headlines only
A. Japanese new Agricultural Minister Gunji said in his interview that announcement at G20 of Japan’s intention to participate in the TPP negotiation would be to early.
B. Presidents of Mexico, Chile, Peru and ----agreed on 6 June to found the “Pacific Alliance” towards an economic union.
C. Four countries, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua declared withdrawal from The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, a collective self-defense treaty signed in 1947.
＜Anti-TPP activities update.＞
１，Serial events in June have started and keep going on everyday.It will be highlighted by a street rally on 18 June and a panel discussion attended by Jane Kelsey on 21 June.