Japan’s approach to preferential trade agreements
This chapter begins by exploring the external pressures and internal constraints shaping Japan’s preferential trade agreement (PTA) policy. It then traces the development of that policy through bilateral, regional and finally mega-regional agreements. While the pressures of political and economic competition pushed Japan to begin the negotiation of bilateral PTAs at the close of the 1990s, its ambitious policy has been constrained by weak political leadership and a strong farm lobby resistant to liberalization. Japan has pursued a cautious and reactive policy negotiating agreements that offer minimal agricultural concessions while seeking to eliminate trade diversion and counter the rising influence of the People’s Republic of China. However, the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has unexpectedly thrust Japan into the ironic role of leading talks to liberalize trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific.