May 28, 2017

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USTR Michael Froman Meets the President of Keidanren

On June 30, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman met with the President of Keidanren, Sadayuki Sakakibara in Washington, DC. Keidanren is a Japanese business federation, and all major Japanese corporations are members. Keidanren is very influential in Japanese industry and in the Japanese economy. Keidanen supports TPP, and on June 25, Sakakibara released a statement praising passage of TPA in the US Congress saying “I am truly pleased that TPA legislation has been passed in the US Congress. It means that a great stride has been taken in the effort to conclude the TPP. In order to finalize the TPP negotiation soon, Japan and the US needs to cooperate to lead the negotiations.” During the meeting in Washington, Sakakibara told Froman that he would like the negotiations to reach overall consensus within July and hope that the negotiations will be finalized as soon as possible.

In response, Froman stated that he also hopes to conclude the negotiation soon. Froman added that he would like the US and Japan to play a leadership role in the negotiations with other member countries. He also referred to Amari Akira (who is a Cabinet member and the chief TPP negotiator for Japan) as “a tough negotiator.” This is an interesting observation since Froman is said to be “a tough negotiator” among Japanese governmental officials.

When Froman asked Sakakibara what kind of role Keidanren would play in the domestic politics of the TPP, Sakakibara answered that he would like Keidanren to play a leadership role in persuading the Japanese agricultural industry (which strongly opposes TPP) that it will benefit in the long run.

Source:

Tokyo Shimbun, July 2, 2015,

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