Negotiation on TPP (=Trans-Pacific Partnership) arrangement reached an agreement on October 5, 2015, among the 12 members and the signing ceremony took place on February 4 this year. Member nations have committed in domestic processes for ratification, but no country has finalized yet, though it has passed almost eight months. Under these circumstances Japan hurries up procedures for approval, which looks quite extraordinary.
LET’S ENCIRCLE DIET BUILDING TO IMPEDE RATIFICATION!
A series of 11 bills related to approval of the TPP, a free trade initiative, are kept on the agenda for the current extraordinary session of the Diet, succeeding the last ordinary session. The Abe government is to approve it during the current Diet session.
Japan was obliged to compromise to a great extent in the agricultural sector. The fact is evidently shown in the result of the July election of the Upper House. Candidates from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a TPP promoter, lost in the prefectures of Hokkaido and Tohoku Region whose major industry is agriculture. The outcome indicates strong reluctance of the electorate.
Will the Abe administration try to dismiss people’s disagreement to TPP as in the same way as it did when it passed the Act to Protect Specified Secrets and the controversial war legislation?
US Presidential Candidates are Against TPP
Let’s look at the situation in general. The US and Japan have the key to finalize the agenda as the economic size of the two countries’ GDP (gross domestic product), if added together, occupies almost 80% of the total GDPs of member economies. If the two, or either one of them, do/does not ratify, the TPP scheme will not be effective. This fact eloquently proves the very characteristic of the TPP; it favors Big Power.
In the United States President Obama calls for ratification and finalization of the TPP initiative before the yearend, while reactions are tough inside the nation and authorization by the legislature is dim. In addition, both of the two presidential candidates, Clinton from the Democratic Party and Trump from the Republican Party, are against the free trade deal.
Mr. Trump told US should leave the deal, claiming that ‘employment in the country will be lost in a devastative way if it is approved’. Meanwhile Ms Clinton said ‘I will oppose the TPP deal even after the election and being elected as President’, though she had been in favor of the initiative when she was Secretary of States. It is partly because she was caught up with by the candidate Bernie Sanders during the primary campaigns.
Canada, which succeeds the US and Japan in terms of the economic size, is examining the trade agreement at the moment as the administration altered. In Australia, which follows Canada, the issue is debated in the parliament, but the time of ratification is not indicated.
Fierce Backlash Anticipated
As is seen, the TPP scheme is in deadlock. Will it end up in a natural course even if we do not take actions?
No, it will not die. As everyone knows the TPP is an arrangement that should ensure global enterprises to gain profits greedily by crossing national borders freely without barriers of tariffs and enjoying liberalization and deregulation in all the industrial spheres, including labor. A fierce backlash is anticipated.
Actions are Necessary
We cannot stand by, doing nothing, when we face counteroffensive of global enterprises. Workers, farmers, consumers, small-and medium-sized business owners and other people who may suffer from the TPP arrangement must fight in a common struggle in solidarity to block the government and ruling party as well as the Diet.
September 27, 2016