In Europe, EU commissioners received the green light to start negotiations for an EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA), despite the complaints of the auto industry, notably the one in Italy, and PSA in France, Reuters reports. Japan is the EU’s third-largest trading partner after the United States and China, and the architects of the FTA hope for 400,000 new jobs to be created in Europe as a result of the agreement.
Meanwhile in America, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, talks are in their third year and are going nowhere. The agreement would lift trade barriers between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and, as Reuters says, “almost any country with a Pacific shore.” The natives are getting restless though. They claim that the U.S. is making overreaching demands. 15 countries started negotiations about their own Asia-Pacific FTA, without the meddlesome U.S. In the U.S. the American Automotive Policy Council has come to diametrically different conclusions than the EU. It says inclusion of Japan in the TPP “would put 90,000 U.S. auto jobs at risk.” Ernest Bower, director of Southeast Asia studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, thinks time is running out for the TPP: “I think there’s a deal in 2013 or it’s dead, because I don’t think the Asian countries will wait around longer than that.”
The contentious issue of Japan’s membership in the TPP probably will be solved. On December 16, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party LDP is expected to be victorious. It is critical of the TPP.