Japan, on Friday, become the second country to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that emerged after the US’s withdrawal in January 2017. The agreement was signed by eleven countries in Asia, Oceania, and the Americas but has so far been ratified by just Japan and Mexico. Numerous other countries in the region have expressed interest in joining.
Among other things, the agreement will decrease Japanese tariffs for rice and wheat and products made from them. Japan, being the world’s third largest economy, is currently a leading importer of US wheat ($1.4 billion in 2016) and rice ($251 million in 2017). Many US farmers are worried that the reduced trade barriers for signatory countries such as Australia and New Zealand will put them at a competitive disadvantage and are urging the Trump administration to pursue talks with Japan and other Asia-Pacific nations.