McCully urges Japan to join TPP trade pact talks

Article – BusinessDesk

May 27 (BusinessDesk) – Japan should avoid slowing down its drive for economic reforms because of the country’s devastating March 11 tsunami, but press harder on a free trade agenda to help its economy to recovery, New Zealand Foreign Minister …

McCully urges Japan to join TPP trade pact talks

May 27 (BusinessDesk) – Japan should avoid slowing down its drive for economic reforms because of the country’s devastating March 11 tsunami, but press harder on a free trade agenda to help its economy to recovery, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in Tokyo.

In a speech to “Future of Asia” conference, McCully said the New Zealand government believed greater efforts to open trading opportunities was one of the best responses to overcoming the economic disruption caused by the Christchurch earthquakes.

“Our own approach is that recovery requires growth in the economy and to achieve that New Zealand is keeping up the pace on its trade agenda,” said McCully, who used the occasion to urge Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Parntership free trade agreement, which is emerging as an alternative to APEC and World Trade Organisation trade initiatives, which have become bogged down.

“It is my view, for Japan to make progress into the next decade, and to ensure a successful reconstruction post-11 March, it will to need to embrace globalisation across all sectors,” said McCully.

“It is our strong hope that the reform process will advance to the point that Japan can take a decision in the near future to seek to join the negotiations for a Trans Pacific Partnership agreement,” he said.

“It’s part of the evolving architecture of the region – a potential building block to a larger Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), a pathfinder initiative that will enhance regional integration,” he said, from which Japan was notably absent.

While Japan used to be among New Zealand’s top three trading partners and was the country’s first major Asian nation relationship, its ranking had slipped. Earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan indicated a willingness for the world’s third-biggest economy to be a part of the TPP talks, but that was shelved in the wake of the disaster.

A high-quality FTA would help reverse that trend, as Japan is the only major regional economy with which New Zealand has no free trade agreement concluded or under negotiation, said McCully.

FTA’s were not only important economically, but improved regional political cohesion, security and stability.

“The region’s history is one of conflict and mistrust, shifts in economic power and frequent natural disasters,” said McCully. “However, we now enjoy increased regional stability and security. Whichever way you see it, the region’s economic growth and its stability are linked.”

(BusinessDesk)

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