2011年11月19日土曜日

マスメディア 広告料を支払う経済界は開国派

親の二枚舌が遺伝し、子は詐欺師になった。
 野田首相は参院予算委で、TPPをめぐり、日米首脳会談で「全ての物品、
サービスを貿易自由化交渉のテーブルに乗せる」と発言したと米政府が
発表したことに対し、「一言も言っていない」と否定した。だが、米側に
訂正を求めない考えも表明。海外では交渉参加に積極姿勢を示し、国内
では慎重姿勢を強調する首相を、野党側は「二枚舌」と批判している。

閣議決定
・センシティブ(重要)品目に配慮を行いつつ、すべての品目を自由化交渉
 対象とする」との基本方針

野田佳彦
・米国のルールだけが一方的に押しつけられる環境では決してない
・TPP交渉参加に向け関係国と協議に入る
・何が何でも、国益を損ねてまで参加することはない
・「事実でないと明らかになったので、それでいい」と米政府に
 訂正を求めない考え。

アーネスト米大統領副報道官
・発表は両首脳が非公開で行った発言と、(これまでの)首相と日本政府に
 よる公式見解に基づくものだ」と訂正を否定。

震災や原発で国内の信頼を失った政府は、経済問題でも国民の信頼を
失った。
権力の番人のはずのジャーナリストも今では権力のコバンザメ。
その上、TPP参加を歓迎しても、野田の詐欺商法を批判する。
広告料が必要だから、経済界を支援し「開国」と言う。

薩摩藩や長州藩は英国と手を結んだが、結末は、薩英戦争後に、英仏
米蘭連合軍により下関が占領された。
国内では、寺田屋事件や生麦事件、薩英戦争から禁門の変とつなぐ派閥の
混乱を招き、各地で内戦が始まる。
相互で自由貿易協定を確定しているに、より障壁が大きい米国とは、
いかがわしい情報を操作し、混乱した歴史を連想させて何が楽しいのか。
経済戦争の先にあるものにも覚悟しているのか。

米国は、民主党が与党なのに、政策は共和党に近い。
そのため、米国の指示に従わない加や豪州にも同様の心理作戦を行って
いる。加や豪州は。その後、米国の指示を考慮して、参加を表明している。
民主主義方式であれば、多数決工作ができたほうが有利。
しかし、米国が推し進めるTPPは、共和党の色が濃く絶対主義になると思う
各国が有利に太刀打ちできるか。
日本の官僚や議員が、小学校から教育されている米国との交渉に勝った
と言う話は、一度も聞いたことがない。

関税を減らされても多くの国で購入してもらえる程、魅力的な日本の
製品がどれくらいあるのか、国内を見てもすぐに理解できるだろう。
根本的な原因を検証する必要があると思う。

コメ先物相場
TPP水槽のドジョウとめだか
非GMOの明記へ


ISD条項も知らない無知野田の真実・佐藤ゆかりのTPP質疑に蒙昧珍答連発!


---民主慎重派に亀裂 山田氏に批判の矛先---
2011.11.15 23:54
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/111115/stt11111523570013-n1.htm

 環太平洋戦略的経済連携協定(TPP)をめぐり野田佳彦首相の「交渉参加表明」阻止で結束してきた民主党慎重派に、亀裂が表面化した。15日に開かれた「TPPを慎重に考える会」役員会では、首相の発言を「参加表明ではない」と主張する山田正彦会長(元農水相)らに対し、若手を中心に「事実上の参加表明だ」との反論が噴出した。首相の「二枚舌」発言がもたらしたとはいえ、同床異夢だった慎重派の限界が露呈した形だ。
 「われわれは『慎重に考える会』というよりも、『断固反対』でいく」
 山田氏は15日夕、都内で開かれた民主党若手議員のパーティーで、TPP交渉参加反対を強調した。
 山田氏があえて「断固反対」を口にしたのは、午後に開かれた役員会が「今はバラバラ」(若手)というほどの惨状だったためだ。
 役員会では、首相が「交渉参加に向け関係国と協議に入る」との表現を使っていることに、山田氏が「参加の結論を先送りした」との解釈を重ねて強調した。ところが一部議員は、山田氏に「抗議すべきだった」と不満をぶちまけた。「国民から見ればどうみても『交渉開始』だ」(斎藤恭紀衆院議員)というのだ。
 両者の亀裂は、解釈の違いというだけでは片付けられない事情もある。
 山田氏らは11日の首相記者会見の直前、輿石東幹事長側から首相が「譲歩」したとの連絡を受けた。首相は輿石氏、鹿野道彦農水相と会談した結果、「交渉参加」ではなく「事前協議」と表明することを決めたという説明だ。山田氏としては輿石氏の尽力を受け入れて党の混乱を抑えようと判断したが、一部若手らは「できレースに乗ってしまった」とみた。
 また、山田氏はもともと市場開放には肯定的な立場で、多国間で交渉するTPPよりも二国間で行う自由貿易協定(FTA)などが望ましいとしてきた。TPPは「米国従属路線」と反発する議員らとはおのずと路線が異なる。
 しかし山田氏は、解釈の修正を迫られている。米側から出た日米首脳会談での首相発言を踏まえ、「『事前協議』よりも一歩踏み出してはいる」として、近く政府に抗議文を提出する考えだ。また、考える会として12月に訪米し、情報収集に努めるとともに、交渉参加阻止への活動を継続していくというが、慎重派の結束が続くかは不透明だ。
(酒井充、坂本一之)


---首相「二枚舌」発言に批判噴出 米発表訂正せず 国内向けに途中下車も示唆---
2011.11.15 19:29 [野田首相]
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/111115/plc11111519290011-n1.htm

 野田佳彦首相は15日の参院予算委で、環太平洋戦略的経済連携協定(TPP)をめぐり、12日の日米首脳会談で「全ての物品、サービスを貿易自由化交渉のテーブルに乗せる」と発言したと米政府が発表したことに対し、「一言も言っていない」と否定した。だが、米側に訂正を求めない考えも表明。海外では交渉参加に積極姿勢を示し、国内では慎重姿勢を強調する首相を、野党側は「二枚舌」と批判している。
 首相は予算委で、昨年11月に閣議決定された「センシティブ(重要)品目に配慮を行いつつ、すべての品目を自由化交渉対象とする」との日本政府の基本方針に触れ、「方針を米国なりに解釈した。(発言が)事実ではなかったと米国当局も認めた」と説明した。
 これに対し、アーネスト米大統領副報道官は記者会見で「発表は両首脳が非公開で行った発言と、(これまでの)首相と日本政府による公式見解に基づくものだ」と訂正を否定。首相も「事実でないと明らかになったので、それでいい」と米政府に訂正を求めない考えを示した。
 首相はTPP交渉に関し「米国のルールだけが一方的に押しつけられる環境では決してない」とも強調したが、自らの発言の真偽さえもあいまいにする姿勢は、米国への過度な配慮を印象づけた。
 首相が表明した「TPP交渉参加に向け関係国と協議に入る」との表現をめぐる混乱も生じた。
 慎重派を懐柔するためか、首相は「何が何でも、国益を損ねてまで参加することはない」と不参加の可能性にも言及。自民党の山本一太氏から「二枚舌外交だ」と批判されたが、首相は「言うことが違うのが二枚舌。国内でも国際社会でも同じことを言っている」と反論した。


---TPP:交渉参加問題 米と調整不足露呈 首相発言説明巡り、民主の反対派攻勢---
毎日新聞 2011年11月15日 東京朝刊
http://mainichi.jp/select/biz/news/20111115ddm005020151000c.html

 政府が、環太平洋パートナーシップ協定(TPP)への交渉参加問題で、米国などとの調整不足を露呈している。12日の日米首脳会談で交渉参加方針を表明した野田佳彦首相の発言内容を巡り、日米両政府の説明は食い違い、外務省の説明も混乱。首相の参加表明が「交渉参加」か「事前協議への参加」かについても与党内で解釈が違い、民主党内の反対派は攻勢を強め、野党も首相を追及する姿勢だ。【横田愛、佐藤丈一】
 日米首脳会談の内容を巡っては、米政府は会談後に「首相は『全ての物品、サービスを貿易自由化交渉のテーブルに載せる』と述べた」と発表、オバマ大統領も歓迎したと説明した。しかし、この内容は、例外品目の可能性を示唆してきた首相の立場と異なるため、外務省は「事実無根だ」と猛抗議し、米側も発言はなかったことを認めたと説明した。
 しかし、14日に自民党本部で開かれた同党外交部会では、出席した外務省幹部が「発言がなかったことは(両国間で)確認した。修正は求めていないし、抗議しない」と説明。さらに「例外・除外を前提とした参加が認められないのは、交渉の前提だ」と述べ、原則として全項目が交渉対象となるとの見通しを示し、政府内の説明の混乱ぶりを示した。
 これに対し、民主党内のTPP反対派は批判し、「交渉参加表明はあくまで事前協議だ」として、参加阻止への行動を続ける構えだ。
 同党の輿石東幹事長は14日の記者会見で、TPPについての両院議員懇談会を来週、首相出席で開催する方針を表明。「TPPを慎重に考える会」会長の山田正彦前農相は、記者団に「全ての物品、サービスを交渉に載せる、と首相が本当に言ったなら大変なことだ」と、懇談会で首相を追及する考えを示した。
 これに対し、推進派の鉢呂吉雄前経済産業相は同日の会見で「各国とも2国間FTA(自由貿易協定)で例外品目の農産品を抱えている。TPPで全て関税が撤廃にはならない」と、火消しに躍起となった。
 野党は、日米の説明の食い違いなどを「二枚舌だ」(自民党幹部)と批判、衆院予算委員会の集中審議開催などを要求し、首相に真偽を問いただす方針だ。
 自民党の石原伸晃幹事長は14日の党本部での会合で「同盟国である日本の首相が言ったことについて、米国が『言った言わない』というのでは、話はまとまらない」と非難。同党の谷垣禎一総裁も、党本部で記者団に「(交渉参加表明は)拙速だ」と批判し、内閣不信任決議案や首相問責決議案の国会提出について「十分視野に置いておかなければいけない」と検討する考えを示した。


---TPPで「首相は二枚舌だ」自民党外交部会---
2011.11.14 18:41
http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/111114/plc11111418420012-n1.htm

 自民党の外交部会(部会長・小野寺五典衆院議員)は14日、党本部で会合を開き、野田佳彦首相がオバマ米大統領との会談で環太平洋戦略的経済連携協定(TPP)交渉への参加方針を伝えたことを議論した。
 出席者から「首相は国内向けと米国向けの二枚舌を使っている」(野村哲郎参院議員)との批判が相次ぎ、首相の帰国後、国会審議で徹底的に追及することを確認した。


---Feds pledge to protect Canada's interests at trade talks---
By Jessica Murphy ,Parliamentary Bureau
First posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 02:32 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 05:56 PM EST
http://www.torontosun.com/2011/11/15/feds-pledge-to-protect-canadas-interests-at-trade-talks

OTTAWA - Trade Minister Ed Fast said Ottawa will stand behind its egg, dairy and chicken farmers at upcoming free trade talks.

But whether that loyalty will make or break a trade deal remains an open question.

"We've made it very clear we will continue to defend Canada's system of supply management," Fast said Tuesday when pressed by reporters on just how far Canada is willing to go in defending the import and production controls protecting some 20,000 Canadian farmers.

At stake is access to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP - a major potential trade deal with the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Peru.

Last weekend, Canada asked for a seat at the negotiating table.

The Conservative government bills itself as "pro-trade," with Fast maintaining that opening new markets to Canadian business was the "linchpin of its economic growth strategy."

Supply management, however, has proven a major roadblock in gaining access to the trade talks with the tightly knit group of Asia-Pacific economies.

Similarly, Japan was greeted with a lukewarm welcome for its interest in protecting its domestic rice market when asking to join the negotiations.

Prime Minster Stephen Harper came under fire over the issue in Question Period on Tuesday, with interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel demanding to know whether Canada had put supply management on the negotiating table.

Harper reiterated that his government supported the agriculture protections that are in place.

Fast hinted Tuesday that most countries involved in the TPP talks had an industry they were looking to protect.

"When Canada enters free trade negotiations, we always put the interests of Canada first," he said.

"As do other countries around the world that enter free trade negotiations."

Jayson Myers, who heads the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters trade association, said Tuesday it's crucial Canada puts everything - including supply management - on the table, where it can defend those interests over the course of negotiations.

"For Canadian business, Canadian exporters, there are a lot more interests than the agricultural interests," he said.

"It's important we negotiate all of those interests."


---ANALYSIS | Trans-Pacific trade deal about more than resource exports---
By Don Pittis, CBC News
Posted: Nov 15, 2011 6:08 AM ET
Last Updated: Nov 15, 2011 7:56 AM ET
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/11/14/f-pittis-asia-trade.html?cmp=rss

Asia-Pacific partnership could push us to innovate at home

Our prime minister says he's signing us up for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks, and it comes as no surprise - given Stephen Harper's Alberta roots - that our ability "to access Asian markets for our energy products" is at the top of his list of priorities.

For Canadians, any move toward better trade with Asia and the Pacific Rim has a secondary goal: to reduce our dependence on our single biggest trading partner, the United States, a country that recently turned up its nose at a plan to build a pipeline that would pump raw bitumen from the Alberta oilsands deep into America's industrial heartland, where it would be processed into high-value products.

We can hardly accuse Mr. Harper of rushing into the Asia-Pacific trade talks, which to date have included Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the U.S. Negotiating a pan-Pacific free trade deal will be a long and painful process - even if the nine countries did reach consensus on the broad outlines of a deal Nov. 12. But before we go too far, Canadians must think about what they would be giving up in such a deal - and what they might be getting in return.
Resource exporters

It was former U.S. president Andrew Jackson who gave us the expression "hewers of wood and drawers of water," rich irony from a slave owner, unlikely to do either himself.

In fact, that was Jackson's point. He feared that unless they were careful to preserve their republic, Americans would become mere slaves to the forces of international moneyed classes, doing the work but not getting the profit.

We Canadians have picked up the phrase as our own, loaded with its smell of sweat and mindless toil. But we have taken that negative image and applied it generally to resource exports.

Embodied in the term is the 19th-century image of rough Canadian lumberjacks hacking down trees to be shipped overseas, only to be returned a year or two later as expensive English furniture.

And if there is anything to fear from a free trade deal with parts of Asia, it is that. We export our crude oil, our iron ore, our canola oil, our potash, our molybdenum. We import high-value manufactured goods, packed with technology and innovation and made with cheap Asian labour.

Some Canadian union groups were against the Keystone XL pipeline for that very reason.

"We would like the MPs to start putting pressure on the government to do what they should have and stop this pipeline before more jobs are lost to the United States," said Alberta labour leader Gil McGowan.
Can't compete on jobs

"When you compare Canada and Asia, it's a matter of complementarity," says Tony Fang, a specialist in labour markets and immigration at York University. "We have oil, gas and raw materials while they have a huge population."

But when it comes to creating jobs, we can't compete directly with Asian countries.

"We can't pay people $2 an hour to work in factories," says Fang. "We need to produce high-value goods."

Our textiles industry has already collapsed, and the Canadian furniture industry is going the same way, says Michael Burt, economist with the Conference Board of Canada. Not only are we exporting resources; we are exporting jobs.

On the bright side, says Burt, our goal of expanding trade outside the United States really is succeeding. On a percentage basis, trade with our southern neighbor is shrinking. Trade with Asia is growing.

But Burt says the types of goods we are selling remain the same. The huge majority of our exports to Asian markets are still raw materials. Burt insists we better get used to it.

"Rather than trying to change our stripes, we should capitalize on our strengths," Burt said.

We are good at finding, extracting and shipping raw materials, he says. We are good at financing mines. We are masters at horizontal drilling. This is a place where we have a special advantage.

Burt has a point. The gold industry is a good example. Just as the number of Canadian gold mines was shrinking, Canadian gold financing grew, so that even now, much of the world gold industry is run from Canada with Canadian expertise.

'A foot in the door'

The other advantage of increasing resource exports to countries bordering the Pacific ocean is that it expands our contacts and expertise within those places. Further opening trade with the more developed countries of the Pacific Rim, such as Singapore, Australia and New Zealand - and with Japan, which has now elected to join the talks - will help Canadian business learn techniques for penetrating the large number of Asian countries not part of the trade group.

"It gives us a foot in the door," says Burt.

And according to Fang, who is also incoming president of the Chinese Economic Society, this is a place where Canada's immigrants give us an advantage.

"Our research found a close correlation between immigrants and trade relations with their countries of origin," he said. "They know the trade law, the languages."

Neither of them had the data to prove it, but both Fang and Burt suspect that something, perhaps our resource wealth itself, has made Canadian businesses less adventurous when it comes to investing and selling abroad.

"We also know -we have data from Canada - that immigrants are risk takers," Fang said. "Fifty per cent of business startups are by immigrants."

But both agree that depending on resource exports is not enough. For his part, Fang insists we must pour money into education and technology.

"If we don't invest in those high-value areas now, how can we compete with those countries?" he said.
Textiles growing

And there are signs of life in the industrial economy. For the first time in 10 years, says Burt, we are seeing growth in the Canadian textiles industry, where the focus is on high-tech and high-value textile products like seatbelts and fireproof clothing.

"We're not making T-shirts anymore; we are designing T-shirts," Burt said.

When it comes right down to it, so long as their economies continue to prosper, we don't really need free trade to sell our natural resources to Asia. We have them; they need them.

Maybe the biggest value of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks will be to further open Canadian eyes to a huge and growing market and, while we are looking for other opportunities, push us to spend and innovate to become the world's best high-tech hewers.


---Big gains for NZ if trade pact expands---
By Christopher Adams and Owen Hembry
5:30 AM Tuesday Nov 15, 2011
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10766063

Canada and Mexico are the latest countries showing interest in Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations which one commentator said could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to New Zealand.

The trade negotiations involve New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States - with a combined population of more than 500 million people and $22.6 trillion of Apec's gross domestic product.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said Japan wants to rejoin the talks.

Executive director of ExportNZ Catherine Beard said it was a bold move by the Japanese Government as the Trans-Pacific Partnership was going to be a high standard agreement.

"This is going to mean that Japan will be opening its highly protected agriculture and services market to competition from the other TPP economies," Beard said.

Japan was an important market for New Zealand, she said.

"It is heavily protected in the agriculture area. TPP membership is going to be extremely good news for New Zealand agricultural exporters."

NZIER deputy chief executive John Ballingall said a full liberalisation type agreement could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to New Zealand, and more if Japan was included.

"At the moment there's not a lot else happening on the trade liberalisation front, the TPP is where all the momentum is and at a time when Doha [World Trade Organisation talks] is struggling to say the least, it's really encouraging that there are at least some areas where regional economic integration is progressing," Ballingall said.

"Our export sector has really pulled us through this recession and so we've seen the benefits that come from having a thriving export sector and if TPP can help us improve our export sector further then that's likely to deliver wider benefits to the economy."

The announcement around Japan was highly significant, Ballingall said.

"It means that we've now got two of the world's superpowers, one in and one considering the agreement and that should just help it generate momentum and it will mean that other large economies like Korea, possibly China, will start looking at it and thinking, 'Well if Japan wants in then perhaps we do as well'."

Federated Farmers said a TPP would be transformational for New Zealand agriculture and the economy by involving five of the country's top 10 export partners, including three of the top four.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said a TPP could boost exports to the United States enormously "and it's only one partner".

The crucial thing for Federated Farmers was the removal of trade barriers for agriculture, Wills said.

"That's a non-negotiable requirement for us as the world needs to eliminate tariffs and subsidies," he said. "Free trade also needs a wider genuine commitment to services, investment and intellectual property."

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the developments around the TPP were encouraging, especially Japan's move to rejoin talks, although political challenges would be likely as the negotiations continued.

"Of course what we know is the negotiating and settling of these agreements do tend to be reasonably long and drawn out processes," Bagrie said.

But he said agreements like the TPP were crucial for this country's future.

"If there's one dynamic I think New Zealanders are seriously under-estimating it is how important, strategically, these bilateral trade agreements ... are going to be to this economy five to 10 years out." Bagrie said.

He said the events taking place in the debt-ravaged eurozone highlighted the importance of countries working together in "group orientated leadership", rather than "self-interest orientated leadership".

Top prospects

Trans-Pacific Partnership:

* Aims to create a regional free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Peru, Singapore, the United States, Vietnam and New Zealand.
* Japan has also rejoined talks.
* Member countries, excluding Japan, are home to more than 500 million people, with economies accounting for US$17.8 trillion, or just over half, of Apec's gross domestic product.
* The TPP would include four of New Zealand's 10 most important trading partners.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)


---Obama’s Asia Trade Deal Gains Momentum as Japan, Canada Sign On---
November 15, 2011, 3:24 AM EST
By Shamim Adam
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-15/obama-s-asia-trade-deal-gains-momentum-as-japan-canada-sign-on.html

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s push to expand an Asia-Pacific trade accord gained momentum at a summit in Honolulu with agreements from Japan and Canada to join what would be the largest American trade deal.

Obama said nine Asia-Pacific nations aim to reach a Trans- Pacific Partnership accord within a year in what would be the biggest U.S. pact since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Japanese leader Yoshihiko Noda and Canadian premier Stephen Harper told the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit they will join the talks, which may help the U.S. regain influence lost to China in a region that’s leading global growth.

Expanding the accord to add the world’s third and 10th- biggest economies may face political hurdles as leaders fight protectionism at home. Noda faces domestic opposition to the prospect of reducing a 778 percent tariff on rice, and delayed his announcement a day to placate members of his own party.

“Countries that want free trade are looking for a way forward, especially with Asia where the growth is,” said Tai Hui, head of Southeast Asian economic research at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “This is a positive gesture against protectionism. The sticky issues will be agriculture and labor- intensive industries.”

The sensitivity of the issue was highlighted by a rift over what Noda told Obama in a Nov. 12 meeting. Japan denied a White House account that Noda told the president he is willing to negotiate all his country’s goods and services at the TPP.

‘Very Difficult’

“This is really about Japan and the U.S. and what the future shape of Asia-Pacific trade will look like,” said Jun Okumura, a former Japanese trade ministry official and a consultant at the Eurasia Group in Tokyo. “It’s going to be a very difficult negotiation.”

Speaking at APEC on Nov. 12, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the nine countries are setting July as a target for an agreement, while a U.S. official said there is “no firm deadline.” Negotiators will meet in early December and schedule more discussions then, the leaders said in a statement.

“The Asia Pacific region is absolutely critical to America’s economic growth, we consider it a top priority,” Obama said yesterday at the summit. He told business leaders the day before that TPP countries are “trying to create a high-level trade agreement that could potentially be a model not just for countries in the Pacific region but for the world generally.”

Asia’s growth has boosted earnings for its companies and led to stock market gains that have beaten U.S. equities. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks has outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average seven of the past nine years through 2010.

‘Easily Meet’

Harper yesterday said his country is interested in joining the talks and “can easily meet” the criteria to do so. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Mexico also wants to participate.

Noda faces opposition within his Democratic Party of Japan that a free trade agreement would damage the country’s agriculture industry, which accounts for about one percent of the economy. Failure to join may hinder Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. in competing abroad.

After the White House released an account of the bilateral summit saying Obama welcomed Noda’s statement “that he would put all goods, as well as services, on the negotiating table,” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs put out a statement saying “Prime Minister Noda never said this” during the meeting.

Market Access

The current talks involve Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore, all of which already have separate free-trade agreements with the U.S., as well as Malaysia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brunei. In addition to tackling traditional trade issues such as tariffs and market access, negotiators at the talks are seeking restrictions on government-owned companies and stricter protections for patents and copyrights.

Some nations are seeking their own free-trade agreements as the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of global talks remains unfinished after a decade.

“A one-year timeline is a bit tight but given the impetus of a weak global economy, it can be done if there is political will,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd in Singapore. “The Doha round has been impeded by layers and layers of bureaucracy and political issues. The TPP will be a boost for trade.”

Two-way trade between the U.S. and the eight nations in the TPP totaled $171 billion last year, compared with $457 billion with China, $181 billion with Japan and $88 billion with South Korea, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Taken together, the eight member economies would be America’s fifth largest trading partner, Obama said.

Some Impetus

“An APEC agreement on broad outlines may not signify much,” Razeen Sally, director of the Brussels-based European Center for International Political Economy, said by telephone. “It might provide some kind of impetus to the negotiations, but there’s still a long way to go given how disparate the membership is.”

Thomas Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business lobbying group, said in an e-mailed statement that while the announcement is welcome, “the Chamber urges further substantial progress as quickly as possible.”

In Malaysia, reluctance to change policies that give preferential treatment for some state contracts to ethnic Malays and indigenous people were among issues that led to a previous breakdown in negotiations with the U.S. on a free trade pact.

‘Flexible’

“There is a need to be flexible in our approach and to be realistic in terms of what can be achieved and accepted, or the buy-in by our local constituencies,” Najib said on Nov. 12, referring to the TPP nations. “The question of sensitivity varies from country to country.”

The U.S.-South Korea free trade pact, initially agreed on by presidents George W. Bush and Roh Moo Hyun more than four years ago, was delayed as their successors Obama and Lee Myung Bak sought wide domestic support for the deal. While Obama signed the agreement into law on Oct. 21 after Congress passed it earlier that month, South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party has stalled a vote on the bill since June.

China, the world’s second largest economy, has not received an invitation to join discussions on the TPP and would “seriously study” such a request, Assistant Commerce Minister Yu Jianhua said Nov. 11. Kirk said no nation needed an invitation as it is not a “closed clubhouse.”

--With assistance from Julianna Goldman and Margaret Talev in Washington, Aki Ito and Patrick Harrington and John Brinsley in Tokyo, Michael Forsythe in Beijing and Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok. Editors: John Brinsley, Peter Hirschberg


---Japan, U.S. at odds with PM Noda's free trade comment---
HONOLULU | Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:55am EST
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/13/apec-trade-japan-denial-idUSL3E7MD03L20111113

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Japan has denied a White House statement that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told U.S. President Barack Obama he would put all goods and services on the negotiating table for trade liberalisation.

The White House stood by its statement, issued on Saturday, despite Japan's denial.

The discrepancy comes after Noda held talks with Obama at a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Hawaii and notified the president of his decision to seek to join talks on a U.S.-led free trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"It is not true that Prime Minister Noda made such a comment in the summit meeting. We pointed out to the U.S. side that the statement in question is not true and asked for explanation," a Japanese government statement said.

"It has been confirmed that it is the U.S. side's interpretation based on the basic policy and explanation that the Japanese side has in the past announced or made, and that no such remark has been made (in the summit meeting)."

Asked about the contradiction, Michael Froman, senior White House adviser on international economics, defended the statement.

"I would stand by the statement that we issued earlier, that they discussed the comprehensiveness of TPP, the various issues that will have to be resolved between the two countries, and the consultation process that is the first step in that direction," he said.

When Noda declared Japan's readiness to join TPP talks on Friday in Tokyo, he said he was determined to protect the "world's renowned Japanese medical system, its traditional culture and beautiful farming villages".

The TPP would in principle eliminate all tariffs within member nations. Its rule-making talks have already been joined by the United States and eight other Asia-Pacific countries.

Noda holds high hopes that joining the free trade agreement would help Japan harness dynamic growth in the region and put vigour back into its economy.

But Japanese farming groups say TPP participation would be the death knell for Japan's agricultural sector, which has long been protected by high tariffs on farm products imports.

Farming lobbies are joined by the Japan Medical Association, a politically powerful group of doctors that is concerned that opening up the country to foreign competition could make the medical sector more profit-oriented and curb access to medical services for the poor. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Caren Bohan; Editing by Paul Tait)

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