DCM Zumwalt Welcomes Discussion of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission James P. Zumwalt at the Symposium hosted by USJBC and JUBC "TPP: Driving Force for Growth in the Asia-Pacific"

(As Delivered)

Tokyo, Japan
Oct. 7, 2011


Chairman Yonekura, Chairman Butel, Ladies and gentlemen: Good morning. I want to thank to U.S.-Japan Business Council (USJBC) and the Japan-U.S. Business Council (JUBC) for graciously hosting this symposium. It is a pleasure to join my Japanese Government counterpart Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Keiro Kitagami in opening these proceedings. I also appreciate all the private sector representatives for sparing your valuable time to assemble here.

Success of international trade agreements is measured in the private sector. Your initiative, ideas, know-how, dedication, and adaptability are indispensable to the success of any international trade-liberalizing agreement. No discussion of trade policy is complete without everyone hearing the voices of the private sector.

For this reason, today's discussion will contribute to public discourse as Japan evaluates whether to join negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

Historical View

Japan's very consideration of the TPP is impressive as I think back on my involvement with Japan over the years. During my time in Osaka from 1983-1985, and here in Tokyo from 1989-1993, some of our most sensitive trade issues were characterized as a U.S.-Japan contest.

In that era marked by "foreign pressure" - or "gaiatsu" - both the USJBC and JUBC sought ways to overcome trade friction and cooperate to find amicable solutions.

When I returned to Japan in 2002, our relationship had turned toward partnership and cooperation. Indeed, the United States and Japan have become global allies with common interests.

Our economic and trade relations, too, have advanced in this new era. The depth of our engagement, the constructive nature of our governments' commitment to address issues, and our productive and positive results show me that anything is possible.


Just as our relationship has evolved, so too has the trade environment. In the 1980s we never envisioned a world where goods could be purchased with the click of a mouse, where service professionals could collaborate in real-time on video connections, or where data could live in "clouds." And so we need an agreement that can address new concerns as the 21st century continues to mature.

Ambassador Kirk highlighted a number of the benefits that the United States sees in pursuing the TPP; tariff liberalization, reduced costs and increased transparency, intellectual property protections, and more. In our view, the TPP will make an excellent vehicle for trade liberalization and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific Region.

One point made by Ambassador Kirk is that the TPP is a ‘living agreement' that will expand over time. As a platform for real, effective Asia-Pacific integration, the TPP is markedly different from other trade agreements in light of the expanding opportunity it will bring to its current members - and to those members that choose join the TPP - over the coming years.


The very nature of international trade stirs up powerful emotions. At its core, it is an acknowledgement of our global interdependence.

Pursuing ambitious agreements like the TPP thus requires a participant's full commitment, based on a clear conviction that the longer-term strategic goals of growth and opportunity that flow from making difficult decisions are worth the cost and are in the nation's best interest.

It is up to Japan to decide if it is prepared to meet the high-standard of liberalization that will be required to join the TPP.

In the public discussion and political debate within the United States leading up to our own decision to join the TPP, the business community played a key role in shaping the political environment. Their strong public support for concluding new free trade agreements helped convince many political leaders of the importance for pursuing TPP and other agreements.

We have recently heard from many Japanese companies that they favor Japanese participation in the TPP. Some have also asked us to speak out more and encourage Japan to join.

I encourage all of you to speak with your political leaders about the impact of TPP on your businesses. Your corporations, small businesses, and manufacturers are a key driver of the Japanese economy. Your government needs to hear from you about the jobs you expect to create, the markets you expect to access, and the growth you expect to realize.

In the absence of your voice, those opposed to free trade dominate the discussion, and even perpetuate misconceptions about the impact of free and open trade on Japan.

It is up to business to balance the discussion, to counter the misinformation and make clear the benefits of TPP.


It is our desire to strengthen our two nations' global partnership. We recognize the joint role we can play as part of a global community moving forward in the 21st century. TPP is a potential venue for that.

I welcome the thoughtful discussions taking place here today. This is an important opportunity to make your thoughts known.

The U.S. government stands ready to work with Japan to provide information to help inform your leaders who will make Japan's decision on TPP.

I encourage you to do the same.

Thank you.