Important Asia news yesterday, via The Hill:
Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said after more than a year of consultations with Tokyo, the two nations agreed to “robust package of actions and agreements with Japan in the automotive and insurance sectors, as well as other non-tariff measures” for Japan to join ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).“As a result, we are pleased to welcome Japan’s participation in the TPP negotiations pending a consensus agreement among the current TPP members and the completion of our respective domestic processes,” he said in a statement.
The TPP, you might recall, is an attempt to create a free trade area for the Pacific. Strongly backed by the United States, it’s an important step in creating a region that is integrated, cooperative, peaceful and prosperous. The list of countries currently engaged in negotiations, apart from the US, includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, Mexico and Canada. Most of the other countries have expressed support for Japan’s entry into the talks.Of course, as is widely noted in the region, China has not yet been invited to the party. And the Chinese can thank only themselves for pushing one of Asia’s largest economies into an emerging free trade zone they’re not yet part of. China’s continuing support for the deranged Kim Jong-Un (who continues to threaten his neighbors with gusto), and its bluster over the Senkakus, has all but forced Japan to do everything it can to deepen links with the US.Keep up the good work, Beijing.