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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 21 - 27  > JCP Kasai opposes bill to approve Japan-EU EPA
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2018 November 21 - 27 [ECONOMY]

JCP Kasai opposes bill to approve Japan-EU EPA

November 21, 2018
The House of Representatives on November 20 began discussing a bill to approve the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. Japanese Communist Party Dietmember Kasai Akira at a House plenary meeting opposed the bill, saying that the free trade agreement would adversely affect domestic industries, namely the agricultural sector.

Kasai noted that in the trade pact, Japan will remove import tariffs on 82% of agricultural products. In particular, he said that Japan’s promise to remove the tariff on European soft cheese has been raising concern among dairy farmers in Japan. Kasai stressed that the government should not expose Japanese farmers to international competition without implementing support measures like European nations have to protect their farmers.

Kasai pointed out that the acceptance of the Japan-EU EPA will lead to limitless concessions in trade talks even with other countries. He quoted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as saying that in the bilateral trade negotiations, the U.S. expects Japan to open its market at least as wide as it did for the EU.

As another example, Kasai cited the Japan-Australia EPA. Under this bilateral agreement, when Japan concedes favorable trade treatments for a third country, Australia will be entitled to negotiate with Japan for the same treatment. He said, “Japan will eventually be forced to give up all trade protection measures.”

Foreign Minister Kono Taro in reply insisted that the Japan-EU EPA will not damage domestic industries.

Kasai claimed that it is clear the Japan-EU EPA will aggravate the difficulties that businesses, workers, and consumers in Japan are now facing. He said that in trade talks, nations should respect each other’s economic sovereignty and seek to promote democratic and orderly economic development.

Past related articles:
> Japan signs EPA with EU amid farmers’ opposition [July 18, 2018]
> Diet approves EPA with Australia, a major blow to Japan’s dairy industry [November 9, 2014]
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