Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators from Japan are in Washington conducting several days of bilateral meetings on market access with their counterparts from the United States. Discussions on tariff elimination and reduction were scheduled to begin Friday, Sept. 20. Kyodo News reported earlier this week that the U.S. had been presented with a bilateral proposal on tariff elimination that was characterized as Japan’s most aggressive to date, but few details on the proposal have been made available. These meetings mark the beginning of a critical component of the broader TPP negotiating process, as elimination or reduction of Japan’s import tariffs are by far the largest potential gains that could emerge from the TPP for the U.S. red meat industry.
Canadian TPP negotiators are also scheduled to open bilateral talks with Japan on key market access issues. The TPP will also be high on the agenda when Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa next week. In bilateral talks held last month in conjunction with the 19th round of TPP negotiations in Brunei, Chile, Peru and Singapore proposed that Japan’s tariffs be abolished on all products.
No more comprehensive TPP negotiating sessions have been scheduled between now and the end of the year. Instead, negotiators will meet in “intercessional” meetings that will focus on specific issues. The next opportunity for top officials from all participating countries to address the TPP will be at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 7-8.
Turkey presses its case for inclusion in T-TIP
Washington Trade Daily reported this week that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will press for Turkey’s inclusion in the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) when he meets with President Obama next week in New York. Earlier this week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman met with Turkey’s minister of economy to launch the work of a committee formed to examine how Turkey may be affected by the T-TIP and to assess ways to liberalize trade between the U.S. and Turkey. USTR has posted a readout from that meeting online.
Turkey has never been open to U.S. beef, but in recent years it has been a roller-coaster market for imports from other (primarily European) beef suppliers. The market first opened to imported beef in 2010, when imports totaled 50,688 mt valued at $248.7 million. The following year, imports more than doubled in volume (110,771 mt) and value ($513.2 million). After Turkey re-imposed import restrictions in 2012, beef imports declined dramatically in both volume (25,541 mt) and value ($96.7 million). Through July of this year, import volume was nearly 70 percent below the 2012 pace.
Turkey has been open to imported pork for many years, but imports a very small volume. In 2012, imports totaled 232 mt valued at $529,000. U.S. pork is not currently eligible.
President Obama, Ambassador Froman urge Congress to act on TPA
In a statement issued Sept. 20, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman reiterated that progress in the TPP and T-TIP negotiations is among the important reasons for Congress to reinstate presidential trade promotion authority (TPA), which allows the president to submit trade agreements to Congress for straight up-or-down votes without amendments. President Obama also made the case for TPA in his Sept. 19 speech to the President’s Export Council.