Japan seeks soft trade deals

Offi­cials in Tokyo admit, accord­ing to the Finan­cial Times, that the pro­posed deals with Malaysia, Thai­land and Philip­pines will fall short of WTO’s ‘free trade’ stan­dards for the autho­riza­tion of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry agree­ments. Japan is seek­ing to redress the impres­sion of Chi­na’s dom­i­nance of trade rela­tions in the region with­out, it seems, offer­ing to actu­al­ly reduce the bar­ri­ers it main­tains to imports from coun­tries such as Thai­land. bq. The Japan­ese trade offi­cial said talks with Thai­land focused on sev­er­al con­tentious issues, includ­ing access to Japan­ese mar­kets for Thai sug­ar, chick­en and starch. Bangkok also want­ed Japan­ese health insur­ance to cov­er treat­ment for Japan­ese patients in Thai­land, and the chance to send some work­ers to Japan. Thai offi­cials said they had made a big con­ces­sion by with­draw­ing their request to lib­er­alise Japan’s rice mar­ket, but the ges­ture had not been rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed. (“Finan­cial TImes”:http://news.ft.com/cms/s/7549972e-68b5-11d9-9183–00000e2511c8.html)

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