Biden urges Japan to open auto, farm markets

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  • 10

    sfjp330

    The Japan goverment policy keeps roughly a third of fields out of rice production, costing taxpayers many billions each year in compensation to farmers for lost income. Many millions of small rice-growers in Japan have thrived on the handout for decades, along with JA. To protect its uncompetitive farmers, Japan has erected one of the world’s highest tariffs, the duty on imported polished rice is 800%.

  • -5

    hokkaidoguy

    The Japan goverment policy keeps roughly a third of fields out of rice production, costing taxpayers many billions each year in compensation to farmers for lost income.

    abe cut that policy last week.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/govt-to-end-production-quotas-for-rice

  • 5

    sfjp330

    hokkaidoguy Dec. 04, 2013 - 07:41AM JST abe cut that policy last week.

    If you ready clearly, PM Shinzo Abe's administration on Tuesday approved a plan to end production quota and across-the-board cash handouts for farmers in FIVE YEARS. So another five years payoff to the farmers.

  • -4

    CanadianJapan

    My country(Canada)'s stance on the TPP is clear. ALL TARIFS should be abolished including farm products. We Canadians are not afraid of Japanese companies coming to sell their stuff in Canada as we know we can get better/cheaper stuff from Korea/Taiwan or China. I really hope Canada and especially the U.S do not bow to Japan's demands. South Korea has expressed interest in joining the TPP, if they open all their markets then they should be entitled to have better access than Japan to the Canadian/U.S markets. Grow up Japan, Californian rice for everybody!

  • -1

    Nenad Jovanović

    @CanadianJapan , from your stance, I can feel huge hatred toward Japan , you want Japan to grow up and let free trade,while at same time you say "We Canadians are not afraid of Japanese companies coming to sell their stuff in Canada as we know we can get better/cheaper stuff from Korea/Taiwan or China" , so, why would Japan let themself down for nothing ? I say NO to this free trade , there is no benefit for Japan in this .

  • 3

    Farmboy

    All countries all facing tough choices, and the only ones who will benefit are the mega-corporations. The people in all countries are going to find the agreement an overall disaster.

  • 0

    Tom Thompson

    should open that car market, no-one will buy a US car anyway, and then Japan can say "we opened up" now protect us from china

  • 3

    StormR

    And America should remove its tariff's and restrictions on Japanese vehicle imports, play fair US its not just a one way street.

    Japan should overhaul its farming industry, having a farm the size of your average westerners home vegetable garden does not work and is not what we call a farm. Farms should be measured in acres not square centimeters.

    A few countries need to get real and stop dreaming.

  • 2

    T_rexmaxytime

    Auto market is already open. Its just that American manufacturers arent producing the cars Japanese wants. Like Kei cars. As for farm, yeah its closed.

  • 3

    warispeace

    This is not about one country vs. another. Today nation-states more and more do the bidding of capital. The TPP is about granting huge corporations rights that supersede local regulations and laws against such things as environmental degradation, labour abuse, social injustice, etc.

    Let's consider the Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the US, Islam A. Siddiqui. According to Wiki, "From 2001 to 2008, Siddiqui was a registered lobbyist with CropLife America, representing biotechnology companies including BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC Corp., Monsanto, Sumitomo, and Syngenta."

    600 top corporations are involved in drafting this agreement. They are focused on share prices and exploiting global business opportunity, not on what is for the betterment of one society or another.

    People get fooled by talk of how free trade will increase growth. After neo-liberalism and NAFTA, it's true that Canada's economy grew--by 72% between 1975-2005 and labour productivity grew by 50%, but real wages have remained stagnant for 30 years as 2% of the population has accrued all the benefits of growth. Aggregate numbers mean nothing if society is becoming more unequal.

  • 0

    Raymond Chuang

    I'd avoid opening the auto market because in Japan, you want the smallest car possible, especially with the very narrow streets in Tokyo and Osaka, which rules out most American models. But opening the food market is more important, especially since it would be a lot better to outsource rice production to places like northern California, where a type of rice called Calrose should be very popular with the Japanese, since it's similar to the medium-grain rice preferred by Japanese palates. In return, Japan grows a lot more fruits for export such as citrus fruits, apples, nashi pears, cherries, etc.

  • 7

    Gerard van Schip

    What no one talks about is the "taking into account fast-changing sectors such as intellectual property". The idea is that media companies will have more powers with regards to piracy, or anything they see as piracy.

  • 4

    inakaRob

    "I'd avoid opening the auto market because in Japan, you want the smallest car possible, especially with the very narrow streets in Tokyo and Osaka, which rules out most American models. " huh? Have you ever walked outside your house. Japan makes tons of large cars. Not to mention Japan imports European cars. There are some MASSIVE BMW (X3 and X5) and Audio SUVs on the road in Japan. And I am sorry. Japan is the land of the MASSIVE VAN. Something like the Toyata Hiace (WHO NEEDS A CAR THIS BIG?!?!?! and ugly), The Honda Oddesy. Toyota Noah, Nissan Carrivan, etc etc etc etc do I really need to go on?

  • -3

    tinawatanabe

    Japanese farmers are hardly surviving even with subsidies now. If Japan opens farm market for TPP now, J rice farmers will be distroyed completly. Wait until farmers get a little stronger. I don't mind not joinning TPP for the sake of J farmers.

  • -1

    Ayesha

    More trade and lower barriers make everyone better off.

    In 1858 Japan opened up to foreign trade and greatly developed as a result.

    In the 1960s the trade opening achieved by the Kennedy Round negotiations made possible Japan's subesequent rapid growth and exports to marlets around the world.

    1980s beef negotiations greatly improved Japanese consumers' access to cheap beef.

    1990s large scale retail law reforms allowed exciting huge shopping complexes to be built throughout Japan including rural areas.

    Of couse some people might think in 2013 Japan should sit on the sidelines of the TPP, not participate, and watch trade and cheap products thrive everywhere else with Japan unable to compete...

  • 1

    darnname

    The headline should be:

    Biden Postures for the U.S. Press.

  • 2

    zichi

    Because of the small sizes of Japanese farms, the majority of farmers earn less than ¥3 million pa?

  • 5

    rab23

    GM Korea has just sold over 1 million Chevy Sparks. A small car for dense S. Korea. US car companies build many small cars. Japanese companies build many big cars. American import fees on Japanese cars? I have a Honda Accord built in Ohio. Many Japanese cars are built in the US and not imported. The Japanese learned to make cars Americans want and Americans can do the same in Japan.

  • -3

    JeffLee

    "no-one will buy a US car anyway"

    So if this is the case, why does the pro-Japan crowd bristle at the idea of further opening car Japan's market? Would make no difference anyway, right? This mindset is completely illogical...and completely wrong.

  • -3

    Octagon

    The Japanese learned to make cars Americans want and Americans can do the same in Japan.

    American knows how to make cars. However they do not know how to make the Detrioit as boom town instead of ghost town.

    Because of the small sizes of Japanese farms, the majority of farmers earn less than ¥3 million pa?

    Keeping fit with farming make farmers get away from Dementia and Alzheime. If there is no work for them, mental illness of elderly will be sky rocketted. It is better they have work as much as they can.

    Besides that no rice is good enough for making Sushi like Japanese rice. J rice is irreplaceable and forever for Sushi.

  • 3

    gokai_wo_maneku

    Dear Mr. Biden,

    The car market is open here in Japan. There are no tarriffs on US cars. Granted, there are quotas on each model (2000 as I recall), which scuks, but US makers can't even manage to sell this many. There are Ford and AM dealers here in Tokyo. Whether or not they have models for the Japanese market, they do not advertise or put any energy into the Japanese market, and nobody knows they are here.

    Best, Gokai

  • 3

    StormR

    The car market in Japan is open , there is no import tax on cars, they only need to comply with Japanese safety standards which the americans have a struggle to get their heads around. Head lights need to be replaced so they shine to the left of the road, the americans complain that is unfair and hinders their ability , the American car industry is a flaming joke and has been since the 70s.

    The biggest selling cars in the united states are wait for it ...................................J A P A N E S E wonder why that is ??? Not American hmmmmmmmm makes ya kinda wonder why don't it?

  • 0

    Wakarimasen

    Good luck with that, GI Joe.

  • -1

    hokkaidoguy

    If you ready clearly, PM Shinzo Abe's administration on Tuesday approved a plan to end production quota and across-the-board cash handouts for farmers in FIVE YEARS. So another five years payoff to the farmers.

    So Abe should have just cut a 40 year old subsidy program overnight?

    Congratulations to you and all the people who gave you thumbs up! You're further right wing than Abe! Hell, even Thatcher fired warning shots.

  • 1

    Pandabelle

    The car market IS open here. The European makers manage to build cars that Japanese people want, but the US makers do not and complain it's because of barriers to entry.

    That's clearly false.

  • -2

    jpsys

    Japan should open its auto and farm markets, period. It's the price that Japan should pay for U.S protection.

  • -2

    Mike45

    I think its much more complicated than the "Americans cant build cars Japanese want" GM has made joint ventures in China to build cars that the Chinese want. The issue is making a venture in Japan. Biden can do the happy talk/dance all day, in the end its the same issue, the distribution networks in Japan are closed, while in the U.S. they are wide open and exploited by many Japanese makers. In some cases, the Japanese completely dominate the market sector. This happy talk has been going on for years, and the Japanese always get the upper hand- free and unregulated access to U.S. markets. There is no central power in Japan, so the cabinet can blame special interest groups, who blame somebody else, and the barriers never come down. Dont look for any changes; the US auto industry is wise to watch Japan closely on this TPP issue.

  • -1

    budgie

    I think Japan's small, inefficient farm market could actually do okay under TPP. A lot of it could be sold overseas as branded 'luxury produce' in a similar way to how they market it in Japan. Aomori apples and Yubari melons might not fetch the same premiums overseas but can still be sold as a cut above. Even hostile countries like China have a massive middle class and nouveau riche who will pay extra for the safety and prestige of foreign food products. They don't care if its from Japan if they get a chance to show off their wealth. Then there are all those Japanese restaurants overseas.

    The problem is the government and government-affiliated organizations such as JA probably have no clue how to market overseas and are reluctant to try something new. Japan can market its beer abroad as a premium product - plain old Sapporo black label - why not its rice and other produce? Maybe this level of privatization scares the heck out of the farming sector...

  • -1

    wipeout

    The Japan goverment policy keeps roughly a third of fields out of rice production, costing taxpayers many billions each year in compensation to farmers for lost income. Many millions of small rice-growers in Japan have thrived on the handout for decades, along with JA. To protect its uncompetitive farmers, Japan has erected one of the world’s highest tariffs, the duty on imported polished rice is 800%.

    It's impossible to tell whether you are talking about billions of yen or some other currency, but either way, it's exceedingly vague. Especially as one of Japan's main adversaries in the rice market is the US, which itself subsidizes its rice farmers to the tune of billions of dollars (I've posted those figures before, so I won't bore people with it again.)

    Figures on the actual number of rice farmers here are not especially easy to come by, and vary wildly: one Japan Times report says 40,000; the Economist in typically airy form says "millions", and another report I dug up says 500,000

    Links:

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2011/03/13/environment/has-rice-farming-passed-its-expiry-date-in-japan/

    http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21590947-government-abolishes-previously-sacrosanct-agricultural-subsidies-political

    http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/145

    I do find your figure of "many millions" a bit suspect though.

  • -2

    Mike45

    "Japanese farmers are hardly surviving even with subsidies now"

    Thats not true.Japanese farmers are living the good life. During winter months they dont even have to work, many go on trips abroad. TPP comes around, that will all be gone, as it should. But you dont need worry, TPP will never come around as bickering amoungst the Japanese gov and special interest will be a never ending circle until everyone concerned is tired of it. Fair and open access to all U.S. markets should be expected, however.

  • -1

    JeffLee

    "Especially as one of Japan's main adversaries in the rice market is the US, which itself subsidizes its rice farmers to the tune of billions of dollars"

    Rice is one of the world's most subsidized crops. So the US would be stupid to unilaterally remove its tariffs, only to be swamped by everyone else. The difference is that the US is calling for a level playing field for everyone. Japan and the others are not.

  • 0

    wipeout

    Rice is one of the world's most subsidized crops. So the US would be stupid to unilaterally remove its tariffs, only to be swamped by everyone else. The difference is that the US is calling for a level playing field for everyone. Japan and the others are not.

    The US doesn't give a damn about level playing fields, it is principally interested in kicking doors in. Japan is 120,000,000 million plus people with a staple diet of rice, South Korea is 50,000,000, and Taiwan is 25,000,000. America wants those markets bad and has the land, the powerful agricultural sector, the scale of production, and the political will to force its way into them.

    Meanwhile, it subsidizes its own agriculture heavily, and imports just 7% of the rice it consumes. So yeah, it's not hard to see why a major producer and aggressive exporter of rice is keen to "level" the playing field.

  • 0

    wtfjapan

    @tinawatanabe, I don't mind not joinning TPP for the sake of J farmers. its this mass brainwashing of the Japanese people that causes all the problems, youve got an industry thats less than 1% of the economy, worked by mostly senior citizens that rely on subsidies of $50billion 6-7% of the annual budget. which basically makes it a welfare industry. Its this small minority that is holding the rest of the economy to ransom. and Japanese still want to protect them even if that 50billion could be better used on hospitals, schools and helping increase the birthrate by helping families with children. wake the f up Japan!

  • 2

    jpntdytmrow

    In the mid-'90's, I had a chance to buy an used imported Chevy BLAZER from YANASE for a great price. New, it was way out of my range. It was in good condition and my young family had a great time in it. We had moved out to the mountains west of Tokyo and it was high and comfortable and fun!! BUT, little by little, it needed parts replaced. Brake pads wore out annually and were ridiculout to replace. They wore out and screeched. Other troubles with the engine happened. Oh, the maintenance. And the poor gas mileage made it really impractical to drive on small errands. Trips for errands had to be planned carefully. Could go through a tank of gas like nobody's business!! Mountain and highway driving was great. Snow, no problem. But, parking in Tokyo was harder than Japanese cars which seem to have more flexible turning of the front tires. The narrow streets with the electric poles on the sides made it really hard to get around. A great memory and I would enjoy it with a high salary and the open roads of the US West, but won't ever have another US car in Japan. Have never had any trouble with new or used Toyotas especially when bought in rural areas where people really take care of their cars.

  • 2

    Nenad Jovanović

    Check this article http://elb01-2039628332.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Japan-to-accept-auto-import-curbs-under-US-trade-deal here you can see that , now only that they want Japan to drop car laws that exist in Japan, but they want to impose tha law in USA that would get Americans the right to impose restrictions on importing Japan made cars and auto parts, so, at one side they want their cars go freely from USA and Korea( I say Korea because all Chevroled made cars outside of USA are Korean made A.K.A Daewoo , and that they dont have that factory, American cars would be just one letter , FORD ) , but at same time, they want to have tool to halt import of Japan made cars and parts, if that hurts USA auto industry . So , where is that imaginable "free trade" , nowhere I say.

  • 0

    toshiko

    Biden can advise Michigan that automakers begin to make small right handle cars so that he can push Japan to import from USA. Otherwise, he will be ignored to be next Dem, presidential candidate against Hillary.

    Rice in USA are cultivated mainly in No. California. Decendents of Japanese immigrants make CalRose, Botan brand short grain rice. The fields are just like Japanese SuiDen (Mizuta). In 20 # and bigger bags. They are short grain rice just like Japanese.

  • -1

    JeffLee

    "The US doesn't give a damn about level playing fields,"

    I suggest you do some more reading, like reviewing the advocacy points of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, so that you actually have a clue before posting.

    "America wants those markets bad"

    In today's globalized economy, every major country wants "markets bad." Japan is aggressively going after Burma and Vietnam, for instance. What's your point?

    "Biden can advise Michigan that automakers begin to make small right handle cars"

    I suggest you open your eyes. In my Tokyo neighborhood, I've spotted 3 US-built cars, all with steering on the right.

  • 0

    toshiko

    @JeffLee: Come to USA, especially Detroit (Ford) amd Flint (GM). UAW oppose these companies to make right handle cars. Only 3? In USA, many families own 2 or more than 2 cars. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, etc. We hardly see GM cars or ford cars on freeways and streets. Japanese brand cars all over. Large enough to accomodate tall Americans. Wide enough to let fat American sits comfortably, We have small cars. They are used on golf courses and gardeners, not for people riding to commute. So, only 3 cars in your neighborhood. In USA, Each car for husband and wife, usually. If they have children 16 or oldr, he/she might have a car -Toyota or Nissan, usually. Not ford or GM cars. Well Japanese brand cars are made in USA and some in Mexico - left handle. Average houses havew at least 2 cars garage. Beside drive ways in front of garage for guest uses or convinience. Well streets are wide, too.

  • 0

    JeffLee

    "So, only 3 cars in your neighborhood."

    There are about 30 cars in my neighborhood, because the houses and apartments have very few parking spaces. There are three US branded cars. All are right-hand drive, and they are approximately the same size as their Japanese counterparts.

  • 0

    toshiko

    GM and Ford have many auto factories in China, /They export to Japan, UAW states that USA GM and Ford do not make cars for Japan. Biden wants cars from USA, not from China, to export to Japan, just like he want to export rice from USA, not from Vietnam or other Asian countries. Biden is talking about expotr to Japan from USA, he couldn;t care less from Chiina.

  • 0

    Pandabelle

    @JeffLee

    There are three US branded cars. All are right-hand drive, and they are approximately the same size as their Japanese counterparts.

    So what exactly is all the screaming about that Japan's auto markets are closed? In your anecdotal example the US makers ARE making cars that people want in Japan and are able to sell them at competitive prices.

    What's the complaint?

  • 0

    wipeout

    In today's globalized economy, every major country wants "markets bad." Japan is aggressively going after Burma and Vietnam, for instance. What's your point?

    Quite a simple one. America's stance is hypocritical.

    For all the pressure it has been putting on Japan and Korea for the last few decades - America imports very little rice (7%), and that's the way it likes it.

    All these years, it's been dishing out large subsidies, importing sod-all, and wiping out rice growers in countries like Haiti, while preaching about free trade. There is no level playing field in Haiti: cheap, subsidized US imports destroyed Haiti's self-sufficiency in rice and devastated its agricultural sector.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11472874

    http://www1.american.edu/TED/haitirice.htm

    Anyone who thinks an influx of cheap rice into countries like Japan and Korea has no downside is deluding themselves. These countries can weather it far better than Haiti, but the consequences would still be severe. America would certainly not countenance the same thing happening to its own staple crops.

  • 0

    toshiko

    Biden is pushing rice to Japan, Meanwhile CalRose and Botan rices producing California are so busy these rices go to other states that do not produce short grain rice.

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