U.S. lawmakers warn Japan, Canada on Pacific trade deal talks

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday said Japan’s refusal to drop all barriers to farm imports under a Pacific trade deal was unacceptable and urged the U.S. administration to cut Japan and Canada out of the talks if they did not give ground. In a letter to President Barack Obama, 140 House members, or nearly one-third of the chamber, expressed “deep concern” about the state of agriculture market negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involving 12 countries from the Americas and Asia. Japan, which is keen to protect sensitive sectors such as beef, rice and pork, had made an “unprecedented and objectionable” offer exempting numerous products from tariff elimination, which could set a damaging precedent for other trade talks, they said. “We urge you to hold Japan and Canada to the same high standards as other TPP partners. Otherwise, Congressional support for a final TPP agreement will be jeopardized,” the letter said.

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