太平洋FTA―通商国家の本気を示せ

2010/11/09
--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 8
EDITORIAL: Pacific Rim trade pact
太平洋FTA―通商国家の本気を示せ

As the chair of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Japan is facing an important trade policy decision. During the APEC summit, to be held from Saturday in Yokohama, will Japan express a solid commitment to promoting the proposal to create a vast free trade zone encompassing wide areas surrounding the Pacific? Or will the host nation maintain a noncommittal attitude?
 アジア太平洋の広い地域にまたがる巨大な自由貿易地域づくりに向けて積極姿勢を示すのか。それとも、あいまいな態度に終わるのか。

Prime Minister Naoto Kan needs to exercise strong political leadership to ensure the right decision is made so that Japan, as a major trading power, can contribute to pushing the world economy into a new direction of development and lay the foundation for its own renewed economic growth.
 横浜市で13日から開くアジア太平洋経済協力会議(APEC)首脳会議で、議長国・日本の決断が問われようとしている。通商国家として世界経済の新たな発展の道筋に貢献するためにも、日本経済の浮揚のきっかけをつかむにも、菅直人首相の指導力が求められる場面である。

In his policy speech delivered at the beginning of the current Diet session, Kan pledged to consider Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
 菅首相は今国会の所信表明演説で、「環太平洋パートナーシップ協定(TPP)」に「参加を検討する」と表明した。

Nine Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, Australia, Chile and Malaysia, are taking part in negotiations under the TPP initiative to create a highly effective free trade zone with no tariffs imposed on imports from other member countries.
米、豪、チリ、マレーシアなど太平洋を取り巻く9カ国が参加し、関税を撤廃した完成度の高い自由貿易地域づくりをめざしている。

For Japan, which has no choice but to seek trade-powered economic growth, it is not an option to stay away from a Pacific Rim free trade bloc in the making.
 通商国家として生きるしかない日本にとって、環太平洋に自由貿易圏が出来ようとしているのに参加しないという選択はありえない。

Kan made a natural move when he announced Japan's interest in joining the envisioned trade pact.
首相が参加に意欲を示したのは当然のことだ。

The prime minister, however, started wavering on the issue when the politically powerful farm lobby, which fears liberalization of agricultural imports, voiced objections to Japan's participation in the TPP agreement, provoking a loud chorus of opposition to the move within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
 ところが、農産物の輸入自由化を恐れる農業団体がTPPに反対の声をあげ、民主党内で反対論が勢いづくと、首相の姿勢は揺らいだ。

In a meeting of related ministers, the Kan administration decided to start talks with the countries involved in the TPP while making efforts to gather relevant information and swiftly improve the domestic environment for the initiative. But this is far from the clear and firm commitment the government should make.
 菅政権は閣僚委員会でTPPについて「情報収集を進めながら対応し、国内の環境整備を早急に進めるとともに、関係国との協議を開始する」との基本方針を決めた。だが、こんな姿勢では、あいまいすぎる。

Japan has been lagging in the race to conclude free trade agreements with major trading partners. South Korea's trade liberalization agreement with the European Union will come into effect in July next year. Seoul has also struck a free trade deal with the United States.
 日本は、自由貿易協定(FTA)交渉で出遅れた。韓国は来年7月に欧州連合(EU)とのFTAを発効させる。米国とのFTAも合意ずみだ。

As a result, Japanese auto and electronics manufacturers will be at a disadvantage in competition with their South Korean rivals.
日本の自動車、電機メーカーは、韓国企業より不利な立場に置かれる。

The situation must not be left unchanged.
 これは放置できない。

With their bottom lines being hurt by the yen's gain against the dollar, Japanese exporters are shifting production overseas at an accelerating speed.
円高ドル安で採算が悪化している輸出企業は、ただでさえ工場の海外移転を活発にしている。

A further deterioration of the competitive conditions for domestic production would have an even more serious impact on the job situation at home.
これ以上、工場の国内立地が不利になる環境になれば、雇用への影響はより深刻になる。

Kan has stressed the importance of job creation for the revitalization of the Japanese economy by chanting "jobs, jobs, jobs." If he wants to promote his job-focused policy agenda, he should make Japan's participation in the TPP a priority.
 日本経済の再生には「雇用、雇用、雇用」だと訴える菅首相の考えを貫くためにも、TPP参加は優先的に進めるべき政策のはずだ。

Japanese agriculture is beset by serious structural problems: declining production due to shrinking acreage of cultivated land and the aging of the population of farmers due to a shortage of young people seeking a career as a farmer.
 日本の農業は耕地面積が減って生産規模が縮小し、高齢化で担い手が不足するという構造問題を抱えている。

If these problems remain unsolved, there will be no future for Japan's agricultural sector. Radical reforms are urgently needed.
このままでは将来はなく、抜本改革を迫られている。

The TPP issue should be taken as a good opportunity to start tackling the reforms needed for development of Japanese agriculture.
TPP問題はむしろ、農業の新たな発展のための改革に取り組む好機ではないか。

The principal topic at the APEC summit in Yokohama will be the development of a Pacific Rim free trade zone.
 APEC首脳会議の主要テーマは、環太平洋の自由貿易圏づくりである。

If Kan, who chairs the conference, declares that Japan will join the TPP, he will make clear the direction Japan is going and open up a new vision for APEC's future.
議長の菅首相がここでTPP参加を宣言すれば、日本の針路をはっきり指し示すと同時に、APECの未来の展望も開けてくる。

That will also prompt positive responses to the idea from countries like China and provide a strong impetus for international efforts toward building an East Asian free trade bloc.
中国などの前向きな姿勢を引き出し、東アジア自由貿易圏づくりを加速する力ともなろう。

Kan must not dither on this crucial issue.
 首相はここで迷ってはいけない。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-11-10 03:02 | 英字新聞

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