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TPP参加―丁寧な説明で再起動を

2011/10/07
--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 5
EDITORIAL: It's time to put fears about TPP to rest.
TPP参加―丁寧な説明で再起動を

One important trade policy question facing the government is whether Japan should participate in talks on a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
 環太平洋経済連携協定(TPP)の交渉に日本も加わるかどうか。

Nine Pacific Rim countries, including the United States and Australia, are currently engaged in negotiations with an eye to striking a deal on an outline of the agreement in November.
米国や豪州など参加9カ国は11月の大枠合意を目指しており、

This target date sets a timeframe for Japan to decide whether to join the TPP talks.
日本にとってもここが判断の節目となりそうだ。

We have been calling on the government to join the talks.
 私たちは、まず交渉に参加するよう主張してきた。

The TPP accord has the potential to become the foundation for free flows of goods and services in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.
TPPは成長著しいアジア太平洋地域の自由化の土台となる可能性がある。

Japan has an obvious interest in helping to develop the TPP rules if it wants to avoid being at a disadvantage in regional trade.
日本が不利にならないためには、ルール作りからかかわった方が得策だ。

It should at least join the negotiations.
交渉に加わり、

If it then concludes the trade pact doesn't serve its interest, it can simply decide not to sign it.
国益に沿わないと判断すれば協定締結を見送ればよい。

The government had said it would wait until June to announce whether it will join the talks.
 政府は「6月に参加の是非を決める」としてきたが、

But the decision was put off due to March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.
東日本大震災もあって遅れている。

In the meantime, a broad array of concerns about the TPP has been raised by various people and businesses in Japan.
その間、TPPについて様々な懸念が広がった。

To put the process of developing Japan's policy for the trade talks on track, the government needs to explain the current state of negotiations so that cool-headed, fact-based debate on the issue can be held.
検討作業を軌道に乗せるには、今の交渉状況について政府が情報を整理・発信し、冷静に議論できる環境を整えることが第一歩となる。

The main obstacle to Tokyo's participation in the TPP negotiations lies in the agricultural sector, where many products are protected by high tariffs from international competition in the domestic market.
Rice is the most notable example.
 最大の課題は、コメなど高関税品目を抱える農業分野だ。

One of the TPP's basic principles calls for trade liberalization without an exception.
 TPPは「例外なき自由化」が原則だが、

In the actual negotiations, however, the participating countries are seeking to exempt certain items to ease opposition to free trade in the products from related industries.
実際の交渉では各国とも関連業界の反発から、建前と本音がある。

The United States, which is leading the talks, has had some farm products, including sugar, exempted from its bilateral free trade agreement with Australia.
交渉の中心にいる米国は豪州との自由貿易協定(FTA)で砂糖などを対象から外しており、

Washington has also made sure that the process of phasing out the tariffs on many other products will be stretched over a period longer than the 10-year limit imposed by the principles for trade talks.
関税撤廃の原則である「10年以内」を超える段階的自由化にとどめた品目も目立つ。

The United States has adopted a similar strategy for the TPP negotiations.
TPPでも同様の方針で臨んでいる。

Japanese farmers and others in the agricultural sector have voiced concern that participation in the TPP could lead to the immediate scrapping of tariffs on all products.
But that fear is unfounded.
 日本の農業関係者は「TPPに参加すると、すべての品目でただちに関税が撤廃されかねない」と危うさを訴えるが、正確さを欠く。

Japan should adopt a strategic approach to deal with the challenge.
The government should act swiftly to put together a package of policy measures to bolster the international competitiveness of Japanese agriculture, including steps to promote larger-scale farming.
It also should seek through the negotiations to secure the time and terms that allow it to implement such measures.
大規模化など農業の強化策を早急にまとめ、交渉でそのための時間と条件を確保する。そんな戦略性を持ちたい。

But concerns over the trade pact are not limited to the abolition of tariffs.
 関税以外にも様々な懸念が聞かれる。

Some TPP critics warn that the agreement would lead to massive inflows of unskilled foreign workers, while others predict that Japan would be forced to fundamentally revamp its public health care system.
「単純労働者が大量に入ってくる」「医療制度の抜本改革を強いられる」

Opponents also argue that the pact would undermine Japan's efforts for environmental protection while forcing the nation to import food products from countries that don't adopt food safety standards that are as strict as those in Japan.
「環境保護が犠牲になる」「安全基準が緩い食品の輸入を迫られる」といった具合だ。

These opponents are raising issues of so-called social regulation, or government regulation that addresses specific social problems such as pollution and product safety.
These issues should be discussed from viewpoints other than the revitalization of the economy, which is the principal justification for most arguments for deregulation.
社会的規制と呼ばれ、経済活性化が狙いの規制緩和論議とは異なる視点が求められる分野である。

Based on information they have collected, Japanese trade officials claim that many of the concerns that have been raised in relation to the TPP are not founded in the actual topics at the negotiation table.
 日本政府の通商担当者は、集めた情報をもとに「懸念の多くはTPP交渉でテーマになっていない」と反論する。

To allay unnecessary anxiety about the TPP, the government should offer detailed explanations about how the talks are going and its own thoughts about the trade agreement.
その点でも、交渉状況や政府の考え方を丁寧に説明するべきだ。

With the yen stuck at historically high levels against other major currencies, there is mounting concern about the hollowing-out of Japanese industries.
 円高が定着し、空洞化への懸念が一層強まっている。

Besides the elimination of tariffs, the TPP talks are also addressing many issues that are important from the viewpoint of promoting Japanese exports, such as the simplification of trade procedures.
TPPには、関税交渉以外にも貿易手続きの簡素化など日本からの輸出促進につながる項目が少なくない。

Policymakers should explore ways to overcome the differences in domestic opinion over the TPP, which are simplified as conflict between agriculture and manufacturing.
 「農業対製造業」という単純な対立の図式を乗り越え、

They need to figure out a formula for using the TPP as a means to re-energize Japanese industry.
産業全体の活性化にTPPを活用する道を探らなければならない。

That is a key trade policy mission for the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
それが野田政権の使命である。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-10-08 03:55 | 英字新聞

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