The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) has announced on March 10 that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is highly likely to be concluded in the first half of this year, and counterstrategies are needed.
The KITA said that there is a high possibility that the TPP will be agreed in the first half of this year, even though the talks have currently been delaying. It explained, “In particular, major participant companies of the TPP have important political agendas next year, including the U.S. presidential election and Japan’s upper house election. Therefore, the first half of this year is practically a deadline for the TPP agreement.”
When the TPP is concluded, Korea, will be heavily affected. Korea is an export-driven country, and 69 percent of said exports are intermediary goods to TPP regions. Also, the country has focused 44.4 percent of overseas investment on the TPP regions, too.
Accordingly, domestic companies should decide whether or not to participate in the TPP as soon as possible in order to establish the production network of the TPP and come up with concrete strategies.
The U.S. and Japan are also finding a middle ground in opening products. Until now, both countries have failed to bridge their differences, as the U.S. demanded the opening of the agricultural market and Japan demanded the opening of the automobile market. Japan is currently raising the level of openness to beef and pork, and the U.S. is showing flexibility in opening the auto parts market, narrowing their differences.
The Obama administration and the Republican party both have positive attitudes about the TPP, while the Democrats, whose major support base includes auto labor unions, have stuck to a cautious tone.
The TPP bill was originally supposed to be reviewed in February. However, the review is expected to begin at the end of March to the middle of April now, due to the differences of opinion between the ruling and opposition parties.
When the review begins in the middle of April, the TPP agreement can be reached. Some say that the TPP would be concluded during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Abe to the U.S. in April.