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Japanese Prime Minister’s White House Visit Heightens Focus on TPP, TPA

President Obama hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House this week for meetings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a number of other policy issues. In a joint press conference held Tuesday, both indicated that the U.S. and Japan are close to concluding bilateral negotiations under the TPP, but no agreement was announced during Abe’s visit. Remarks from the press conference are available online.

Abe addressed a joint session of Congress the following day, urging support for the TPP and for legislation to renew presidential trade promotion authority (TPA). He specifically highlighted the need for agricultural reform in Japan, describing its agricultural sector as being “at a crossroads” due to the aging farm population and stating that agricultural policies that have been in place for decades no longer serve Japan well.

Legislation to renew TPA cleared the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee on April 22 and April 23, respectively. News reports suggest floor debate on the Senate version of the bill could begin as early as next week.