Acting Minister of Trade Steven Joyce has welcomed the 15 March announcement by Japanese Prime Minister Abe of Japan’s interest in joining the negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
“This expression of interest by one of the region’s largest economic players is consistent with the vision of TPP serving as a platform for broader regional economic integration in Asia-Pacific.”
“The next step will be for Japan to engage in bilateral and collective consultations with all TPP participants. During those consultations New Zealand will be looking for assurances that Japan is:
Committed to work with existing participants to achieve the ambition levels for TPP that are very clearly set out in the Honolulu Leaders/Ministers statements; and
Can contribute positively to the momentum achieved in the negotiations.”
“New Zealand expects that TPP Ministers will want to discuss next steps regarding Japan’s possible entry to the negotiations when they meet in the margins of the APEC Trade Ministers meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia on 20/21 April.”
Mr Joyce reiterated that current participants are working to achieve a comprehensive, high-standard agreement as described in the Outlines of the TPP Agreement announced by TPP Leaders in Honolulu on November 12, 2011 and are looking to conclude negotiations of such an agreement in 2013.
TPP is a negotiation for a regional free trade agreement, currently among 11 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the United States, Singapore, and Viet Nam. Together these countries represent a combined GDP of US$21 trillion and account for 38 per cent of New Zealand exports.
Japan is New Zealand’s 4th largest individual trading partner. In the year to December 2012 two-way trade stood at NZ$6.2 billion. New Zealand exports to Japan were NZ$3.2 billion, accounting for 7 per cent of total exports. Should Japan join the TPP negotiations it would be the second largest economy involved adding nearly US$6 trillion to the combined TPP GDP