Japanese officials have had plenty of questions for a Nebraska trade delegation about the US decision to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says the pushback on TPP has been a surprising part of the trade mission.
“I really felt like, probably, the people that we would meet with in Japan would be well aware of that, but there’s certainly a lot of effort that we’ve seen to try to convince us that we should still be part of TPP,” Nelson tells reporters during a conference call.
Nelson and others in the Nebraska delegation has urged Japanese officials to engage in bilateral trade talks with the Trump Administration.
Nebraska delegates again find themselves reassuring leaders of a foreign country about the value the state places on trade with them. President Trump’s criticism of NAFTA prompted Nebraska officials to reassure leaders from Mexico and Canada that they highly value trade with their countries.
Talk in Japan about TPP seems eerily reminiscent of those discussions.
The Trans Pacific Partnership was an ambitious trade agreement the United States negotiated with 11 other countries the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam).
President Obama aggressively pushed TPP, but couldn’t get it through Congress before his presidency ended.
Trade policies have changed drastically under President Trump.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says he has been working to convince Japanese officials to begin negotiations with the Trump Administration on bilateral trade talks.
“I had a number of people say, well we hope the Trump Administration will go back to TPP,” according to Ricketts. “In my conversations with the Trump Administration, they have been very consistent that that is not what their plans is. They’re planning on negotiating a bilateral agreement. So, we have really been sending a message that this is a big deal for us and encourage the Japanese government to engage with the U.S. government to start those bilateral talks.”