Abe promotes merits of Japan-U.S. trade pact, vows steps for farmers
Kyodo -- Oct 02
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Japan's national interests are protected under a trade agreement with the United States but he vowed to prepare measures to address the concerns of farmers in the country before the pact takes effect.

"Because rice, which is important to our country, was exempted from tariffs cuts, it is an outcome that protects our national interests," Abe said during a meeting in Tokyo of senor editors from media outlets subscribing to Kyodo News.

"We will take sufficient measures...by the end of the year to deal with worries among farmers," Abe said.

Earlier in the day, Abe instructed his Cabinet ministers to come up with steps to boost the competitiveness of Japanese farm products before the trade pact enters into force, likely on Jan. 1.

Japan and the United States reached a bilateral deal last week to cut tariffs on farm products and industrial goods, capping five months of negotiations that began with Washington threatening to impose higher levies on Japanese auto imports on national security grounds.

The pact, which needs parliamentary approval, will see Japan reduce its tariffs on beef, pork, cheese and wine among other items, helping appease U.S. farmers and producers feeling disadvantaged by foreign rivals in what is now an 11-member revised Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the original pact in 2017.

News source: Kyodo
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