"Our tariff removal is 95 percent and the other 11 countries is 99-100 percent, so we voluntarily and actively engage in the negotiation to protect our national interests," Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
According to the details of the planned tariff removal revealed by the Japanese government on Tuesday, the import duties on 8,575 out of the 9,018 products named in TPP will be eliminated.
Despite Tokyo’s promise to protect farmers at home, the tariffs on 1,885 out of the 2,328 farm products (or 82 percent) are due to be lifted with immediate effect. Rice, beef, pork and other sensitive items are exempted from trade liberalization under TPP.
Japanese agricultural producers fear that cheap foreign produce will flood into their domestic market once TPP is ratified.
TPP envisages significant trade deregulation between the United States, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The unusual secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations, and the uncertain implications of the deal for workers’ rights, national sovereignty, employment, copyright and the environment have drawn heavy criticism from members of government, economics experts and the public.