“This means that TPP can no longer be dismissed as a relatively limited undertaking between the United States and a number of smaller Asia-Pacific economies,” according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
“Japan is a vital U.S. trading partner and strategic ally, and its participation should greatly expand the TPP’s potential benefits,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement. “We are pleased that Japan has agreed to put all issues on the table in the negotiations and work hard to ensure its late entrance does not unduly delay the negotiations.”
Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees such trade agreements, said he is a “strong advocate” of the addition of Japan to Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
“Japanese investment in Tennessee has created good-paying jobs and growth for a long time, so tearing down barriers to further trade and foreign investment is key to strengthening our economy for the future,” he said in a statement.
The National Association of Manufacturers also seems optimistic about the deal.
“The commitments that Japan has made to address long-standing challenges are encouraging, and we will continue to work vigorously with the U.S. government to ensure a level playing field for all manufacturers in the United States,” said a statement by Linda Dempsey, the association’s vice president of international economic affairs.
But other U.S. manufacturers have expressed fears that a broad deal with lower-cost Asian economies could cut into their profits and cost jobs while leaving in place long-standing barriers to U.S. goods.
“Including Japan in the TPP without ironclad assurances that it will open its markets and stop manipulating its currency is incredibly irresponsible,” Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said in a statement.
“You can add this to the list of threats that stand in the way of a true American manufacturing resurgence. What makes matters worse is that this would be a self-inflicted wound.”
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, said he worried that adding Japan to the talks could slow progress toward a deal.
“I will not support Japan’s entry into TPP unless we obtain airtight assurances that Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations will neither diminish the comprehensive and ambitious nature of these negotiations nor delay the goal of concluding the negotiations this year,” Mr. Camp said in a statement.
Among the other 10 countries negotiating the regional pact are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Canada and Mexico joined negotiations last fall.
The countries completed the 16th round of negotiations in March, and the next meetings are scheduled for May.
The pact is a spinoff of the 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.