Japan to Join an International Free Trade Agreement

March 26, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. free trade 
[free treyd] (n.) – an international trade of products or services without paying any fees
Example: The company can import and export its products without paying extra taxes because of the free trade.

2. negotiate [ni-GOH-shee-eyt] (v.) – to talk and discuss with another party to make an agreement
Example: The energy supplier negotiated with an oil company about a potential investment.

3. reform [ri-FAWRM(n.) – a change to improve a country’s social or economic state
Example: The government proposed an agricultural reform to give better opportunities to farmers.

4. tariff [TAR-if] (n.) – a fee for imported and exported goods
Example: Member countries of the free trade agreement are exempted from paying tariffs.

5. emerging [ih-MUR-jing] (adj.) – developing or coming into popularity or maturity
ExampleEmerging countries are cooperating with international businesses to further improve their economy.

Read the text below.

Japan has recently expressed its interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that aims on improving business relationship and interaction between the member countries.

Currently, 11 countries are negotiating about the TPP, including the U.S.A., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. TPP will include different industries, such as agriculture, energy, insurances, and vehicles.

Joining the agreement means boosting the trade of goods and services between Japan and the member countries. This improvement, according to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, may save Japan’s struggling and unstable economy caused by the decline in the demands from the local and international markets. The trade agreement may also motivate Japan to make reforms in important business sectors.

Once the agreement is finalized, tariffs on the goods and services are expected to decrease to facilitate [fuh-SIL-i-teyt] business transactions among member countries. However, the agricultural [AG-ri-kuhl-cher-al] sector protested against the reduction of tariffs because it will have a large impact on the farming business.

To address the protests, Prime Minister Abe ensured the agricultural sector that he will protect Japan’s interests while pursuing the benefits offered by the TPP.

Being an open economy has been a recent trend in emerging Asian countries. For Japan, joining the TPP is an opportunity to also become an open economy and to get the country’s economy moving and growing again.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think Japan should join the TPP? Why or why not?
·         How else can joining the TPP possibly affect Japan?

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is important for a country to have business interactions with other countries? Why or why not?
·         What do you think can happen to a country if it refuses to do business with other countries?


March 26, 2013