US hails Japan's participation in trans-Pacific pact
Japan's participation in a massive Pacific trade agreement will create an enormous market for American exports and generate employment, a top US trade official said Sunday.
Acting US trade representative Demetrios Marantis lauded the unanimous decision for Japan's entry into the US-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a day after Canada softened its resistance and gave the thumbs-up.
"The TPP membership was already robust, presenting economic opportunities for the United States and every member country, and the addition of Japan increases its significance and its potential across the board," he said in a statement.
"Japan's entry will offer a huge new market for American exports that can support more jobs at home," he added.
Marantis praised the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers' meeting in the Indonesian city of Surabaya as "a steady march forward" to deepen economic integration and improve opportunities in the region.
"For the United States, we look forward to consulting with our Congress and stakeholders further as Japan prepares to join the talks, and to continuing the push for a TPP agreement this year," he said.
The two-day meeting of trade ministers, which ended Sunday, came ahead of the APEC summit in October on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
The APEC ministers noted that the Doha Round was at an "impasse" and urged the World Trade Organization members to "change the quality and level of engagement in order to expeditiously and effectively advance our work".
"We encourage all members, particularly major players, to work hard to bridge the gap in coming months, recognising that the continued viability of the WTO's negotiating function is at serious risk," they said in a statement.
Canada was the only nation among the 11 members which was still opposed to Tokyo's participation but its Trade Minister Ed Fast on Saturday said "having Japan at the table is going to add additional value to all of the TPP partners".
With the entry of Japan into the free-trade talks the pact would cover nearly 40 percent of the global economy, making it the biggest free-trade agreement in the world.
The bloc is aimed creating a tariff-free zone with a market of around $25 trillion covering some 800 million people.
Japan joins Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam in TPP negotiations.