Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed a joint session of Congress on the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and his own country’s role in bringing it to fruition.
His remarks seem to indicate that his domestic farm reform efforts are coming together in time for the TPP talks to come to a conclusion, said Eric Shimp, policy advisor in Alston & Bird’s International Trade & Regulatory Group.
“They are using the TPP as an external means to get leverage to accomplish the domestic reforms they have long sought to do,” Shimp said.
In the U.S., President Obama has pushed hard for passage of the TPP.
“Most of the trade community was certainly hoping that the White House would step off the sidelines and become actively involved, and it’s encouraging that they have,” said Shimp.
But the Trade Promotion Authority bill, and the TPP by proxy, is in trouble in the Congress.
“Trade isn’t easy anymore; it’s not a consensus,” said Shimp. “A big trade bill … [is] a fantastic source of leverage, so there is a lot of gamesmanship that goes into it.”