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On the U.S.-Japan Summit Statement, Regarding TPP

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

“The U.S.-Japan summit was viewed as the do-or-die moment to revive TPP negotiations after years of missed deadlines, unbending opposition by other nations to many U.S. proposals, deadlocks on scores of TPP issues, and Congress’ refusal to grant President Obama trade authority.

A decision whether to hold another high-level TPP ministerial meeting tentatively slated for May was riding on the United States and Japan resolving a subset of market access issues. Shortly before President Obama left Japan, the country’s economy minister, Akira Amari, announced that the outcome was "not a basic accord although there was progress.”

Bizarrely, the official Summit Statement called the non-deal a “milestone in the TPP negotiations” and called on other TPP countries “to take the necessary steps to conclude the agreement.”  

Without knowing what market access gains they may achieve in return, other TPP nations have been loath to even consider high-stakes tradeoffs relating to U.S. demands in TPP to extend medicine patents, limit financial regulations,  discipline state-owned enterprises, enforce labor and environmental standards, limit financial regulation and more that are animating growing public and legislator opposition in many TPP nations.  

After months of non-stop U.S-Japan bilateral TPP negotiations and now President Obama and Prime Minister Abe not announcing a breakthrough, TPP should be ready for burial. Instead, like some horror movie monster that will not die, TPP is being animated by a broad coalition of powerful corporate interests and we are told talks will continue but it remains unclear when and how.”

A checklist of all of the unresolved TPP issues can be viewed here

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