Japan’s Cabinet Kick-Starts Plans for Ratification of Pacific Pact

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By Brian Yap

The Japanese government is already preparing two bills to ratify a new Pacific Rim trade pact, which will be submitted to the Diet after trade ministers sign the agreement next month.

The official process will start once the Cabinet makes a decision on the legislation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a source familiar with internal approval procedures told Bloomberg Law.

The “date of the Cabinet decision on the CPTPP bills has not been set yet. The Cabinet decision will be made after the signing the CPTPP pact,” the source said. Then the bills to ratify the accord, the successor to the original TPP, will be submitted to the Diet.

Japan’s early preparations would put it in line to be one of the first nations to ratify the CPTPP, which comes into force once six of the 11 participating members approve it.

The Japanese government is expected to submit one bill to ratify the CPTPP and another to amend related domestic laws, according to Junichi Sugawara, senior research officer for trade policy at Mizuho Research Institute Ltd. in Tokyo.

Trade ministers and officials will gather in Santiago March 8 to sign the CPTPP, the successor agreement to the original Trans-Pacific Partnership. U.S. President Donald Trump ditched U.S. involvement in the TPP shortly after taking in January 2017.

The 11 countries in the new pact are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Amend Domestic Laws

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet started an unofficial process of preparing the bills for ratifying the CPTPP in November, shortly after parties to the pact met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam.

“Except for the law on geographical indications, which is already in force, the date of implementation of 10 amended domestic laws needs to be revised for them to take effect on the day the CPTPP comes into force,” Sugawara said. A geographical indication is a word or phrase that indicates a product has a specific geographical origin, such as champagne and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

The Japanese government is, according to Sugawara, also expected to release the final version of the CPTPP’s Japanese text and the side letters on March 9.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Yap in Tokyo at correspondents@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at jashton@bloomberglaw.com

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