Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet approved on Wednesday a bill to ratify the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement among 11 nations, excluding the United States.
The bill was adopted at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors by a majority vote, with support mainly from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and its coalition partner, Komeito. The House of Representatives passed it in May.
The Diet approval is expected to help speed up related domestic procedures and give a momentum to moves to realize an early effectuation of the TPP deal.
In order to ratify the pact, Japan also needs to enact TPP-related legislation, which includes measures to support the domestic agricultural sector and reinforce the protection of intellectual property rights.
The legislation cleared the lower house last month. The government and the ruling coalition hope to ensure the measure is enacted during the current Diet session.
The pact mainly seeks to slash tariffs on farm and industrial products in the Pacific Rim area, protect intellectual property rights, simplify customs procedures and establish rules on e-commerce. It was signed in March by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The TPP deal will enter into force if six or more countries complete their domestic procedures. Mexico has already finished its procedures.
U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017 withdrew his country from the original 12-nation TPP to shift its focus to bilateral trade deals because it is easier for the world’s biggest economy to make demands in bilateral negotiations.
Next month, Japan and the United States will hold their first talks for “free, fair and reciprocal” bilateral trade. Tokyo hopes to complete its TPP-related domestic procedures ahead of the talks.Speech