太平洋経済連携 交渉参加へ農業改革を進めよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 5, 2010)
Promote agricultural reform to join TPP
太平洋経済連携 交渉参加へ農業改革を進めよ(11月4日付・読売社説)

How should Japan open its market to farm products from abroad while reforming the agricultural sector? Japan should quickly take steps to regain lost ground in its trade policy.
 農業改革に取り組みながら、市場開放にどう備えるか。出遅れた通商政策の巻き返しへ、日本は決断を急ぐべきだ。

Attempts to hammer out a consensus between the government and the Democratic Party of Japan over whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have reached a climax. Nine countries, including the United States and Australia, are negotiating an expanded economic partnership framework.
 米国や豪州など9か国が交渉中の「環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)」に参加するかどうかを巡り、政府と民主党の調整が大詰めを迎えた。

The DPJ-led government will compile a basic policy on economic partnership agreements, including the TPP, with the Cabinet expected to approve the policy Tuesday. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has been a vocal advocate of giving consideration to joining the negotiations. Accordingly, the government needs to spell out its proactive stance on the TPP.
 政府はTPPを含めた経済連携協定(EPA)の基本方針をまとめ、9日にも閣議決定する。「TPP交渉への参加検討」を表明した菅首相の意向に沿い、積極姿勢を打ち出すべきである。

However, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, agricultural organizations and many DPJ members oppose the TPP. This has complicated the government's efforts to draw up the policy.
 しかし、農林水産省や農業団体、党内のTPP反対派は抵抗し、方針作りは難航している。

One compromise that has been floated would see Japan join the negotiations primarily to collect information on the framework, without specifying whether the nation will join the agreement.
TPP参加を明言せず、「情報収集のための協議に入る」という妥協案も浮上している。

This plan would effectively put off Japan's joining the negotiations and mark a retreat from Kan's position.
 この案は、交渉参加を事実上、先送りし、首相表明からの後退を意味するものだろう。

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Better in than out

The prime minister needs to exercise strong leadership to ensure Japan is not left out of the TPP. Next week's summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama would be a perfect opportunity for Japan to make clear its intention to join the TPP.
 TPPに乗り遅れないよう、首相は指導力の発揮が求められる。横浜で来週開かれるアジア太平洋経済協力会議(APEC)が、TPP参加の決意を表明する絶好の機会となるはずだ。

The TPP agreement is based on the free trade agreement that came into force with four original members--Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore. Five more nations, including the United States, later joined the negotiations.
 TPPは、チリなど4か国が始めた自由貿易協定を基に、後から米国などが交渉に加わった。

The TPP's rules would abolish tariffs on commodities in principle. The nine nations have been negotiating with a target of concluding a final agreement next autumn.
関税撤廃が原則とされ、来秋の合意を目指している。

As Canada, China and South Korea are reportedly interested in joining the talks, the TPP likely will expand into a huge economic partnership agreement.
カナダ、中国、韓国も関心を示し、巨大な経済連携に発展する可能性が高い。

If Japan does not join the TPP, this nation will be shut out of an international framework that will be crucial for its economic growth. Furthermore, Japan would not have any say in deciding the rules concerning trade and investment for the Asia-Pacific region.
 日本がTPPに不参加なら、経済発展に欠かせない枠組みから締め出されてしまう。日本抜きでアジア太平洋の貿易や投資のルールが決まる不利益も懸念される。

This is precisely why we think Japan should quickly join the TPP negotiations and get involved in working out plans and rules for trade liberalization.
 だからこそ、日本は早期に交渉に加わり、貿易自由化の段取りやルール作りについて、積極的に関与していく必要がある。

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Domestic concerns

However, the biggest cause for concern is the likelihood that Japan would be pressed to abolish tariffs on agricultural products such as rice, which have been protected by high import duties.
 ただ、最大の懸案は、高関税で保護されている日本のコメなどの農産物も関税撤廃を迫られかねないことだ。

Under the Uruguay Round of talks conducted under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1993, Japan partially opened its market to rice imports. The government has provided farmers with assistance worth 6 trillion yen, but the international competitiveness of Japanese agricultural products remains weak.
 コメ市場を開放した1993年のウルグアイ・ラウンドで、政府は6兆円の農業支援策を実施したが、国際競争力は弱いままだ。

We think the government was wise to establish a "headquarters for promoting agricultural reform" in conjunction with the TPP.
 政府がTPPに関連し、「農業改革推進本部」を新設する方針を決めたのは妥当と言える。

However, Japan needs to quickly enhance the international competitiveness of its agricultural products. To this end, the government should review its dole-out policy of offering income support for individual farming households and instead provide more assistance to farmers growing such products as rice and wheat.
 農産物の競争力強化を急がねばならない。戸別所得補償制度による農家へのばらまきを改め、コメや小麦などの担い手農家に支援を集中した上で拡充すべきだ。

Consolidating farmland will be essential to increase the number of farmers capable of surviving trade liberalization.
 農地の集約を促して、貿易自由化に対応できる農家を増やすことが肝要だ。

The issue boils down to whether Japan can build a nation open to free trade while at the same time fostering farming households that are internationally competitive.
 開かれた国づくりと、農業を両立させる道が問われよう。

(2010年11月4日01時27分 読売新聞)
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2010)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-11-05 06:47 | 英字新聞

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