Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced today that his country will request to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for a combined 30 percent of global gross domestic product. Japan already has free trade agreements with seven of the 11 TPP countries -- Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
As a developed economy, Japan's involvement in the agreement would be significant, but it won't be easy. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has requested for the past year that American lamb be allowed for export to Japan as a condition of that country's entrance to the trade talks.
"American lamb exports to Japan were collateral damage due to cattle bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003. Yet, 10 years later, lamb is still prohibited from trade," stated ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. "The inclusion of Japan in the TPP provides the single best opportunity in our years of effort to regain a lucrative export market."
Reprinted in part from NPPC