In a signal of support for the country's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, voters in Japan Sunday backed Prime Minister and TPP supporter Shinzo Abe by returning his Liberal Democratic Party to power in the House of Councillors of the National Diet.
Japan will enter TPP talks this week as negotiators from countries currently in the regional trade negotiations near the end of an 11-day round in Malaysia. The TPP now includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
"The election results show Japan's support for the TPP," said NPPC President Randy Spronk said. "And that's important because having Japan in a final agreement is critical to the U.S. pork industry."
The National Pork Producers Council supports the TPP because Japan is the top value export market for U.S. pork, accounting for almost $2 billion in 2012 sales. Its economy is second only to China's in the region, NPPC said.
In addition, Japan is the fourth largest U.S. agricultural export market overall, with 2012 U.S. food and agricultural exports to the country totaling $13.5 billion.
"TPP with Japan in it represents the single most important trade negotiation ever for the U.S. pork industry and for most of U.S. agriculture," said Spronk.
Japan was accepted into TPP negotiations in April, 2013.
Source: National Pork Producers Council
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