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TPP 11 Designed for US Return


SNA (Tokyo) — Kazuyoshi Umemoto, Japan’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, says that the new pact between eleven nations has been consciously designed to facilitate the return of the United States in the future.

In discussing the recent TPP 11 negotiations—called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)—Umemoto proudly states, “We were able to limit the number of suspensions to only twenty-two. Of course, many members would have liked to see a much longer list, but one of the main rationales for keeping this difference between the original TPP 12 and TPP 11 at the minimum… is to induce the US to come back.”

The “suspensions” refers to those provisions of the original TPP 12 agreement that the other eleven countries decided to suspend because it was mainly the United States that had advocated them. In all, there are more than a thousand provisions in the TPP agreement.

Umemoto credits the United States (i.e. the Obama administration) for making the original TPP 12 agreement possible, but it was Japan’s leadership that brought the CPTPP to a successful conclusion.

This new agreement, expected to be signed tomorrow in Chile, marks the first time Japan took a leadership role in trade negotiations.

Nevertheless, the CPTPP will have a more modest impact than the original agreement including the United States would have had. An analysis of economic impact based on the Global Trade Analysis Project model predicted a 1.5% real increase in Japan’s GDP for the CPTPP, whereas it had predicted a 2.5% increase for TPP 12.

Nevertheless, CPTPP is designed to be successful even if the Japanese government’s hopes are frustrated and the United States does not return.

Umemoto believes that the ratification procedure might take less than a year, allowing the CPTPP to effectuate at the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

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