Japan, White House rule out re-opening TPP pact

(PortSeattle.org)

Reuters — Japan and the Obama administration on Tuesday rejected calls from some U.S. lawmakers to consider re-opening a Pacific trade deal and said any renegotiation attempt could scupper the whole pact.

“Renegotiation is not an option,” Caroline Atkinson, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international economics, said on a call hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican who chairs the Senate committee responsible for trade, last week said negotiators might have to meet again on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), if support was lacking in Congress.

Japan, the second largest economy in the TPP, said the deal was like a “glass ornament” that would disintegrate if a part of it were to be renegotiated.

“There can be no re-doing of the agreement,” Economy Minister Akira Amari told a news conference in Tokyo.

Atkinson said many of the gains countries achieved during the negotiations, which took more than five years, had come indirectly, making it impossible to re-open individual issues.

“Every issue is tied to every other issue and every country’s outcome is balanced against every other country’s outcome on market access,” she said.

“It might be some area on agriculture that was of great interest for some country that they would balance against another area in manufacturing, and against what some other country was achieving in terms of market access.”

Hatch has criticized the deal for failing to secure longer protection periods for some medicine, while senior House Democrat Sander Levin has expressed concerns about worker protections in Mexico.

Reporting for Reuters by Krista Hughes in Washington and Reuters’ Tokyo newsroom.

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