Democrats wary of Japan entering trade talks

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Associated Press

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 2:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Democrats have written to President Barack Obama expressing concern that Japan's possible entry into ongoing trade talks among Pacific nations threatens the U.S. auto industry.

The Democrats say that Japan has a long history of erecting barriers against U.S. auto imports and that is unlikely to change if Japan joins the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations aimed at establishing free trade principles. Instead, they say Japanese auto exports to the United States could increase if the U.S. eliminates its current car tariffs.

The administration hopes to wrap up the negotiations by the end of this year. During last month's visit to Washington, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a joint statement with Obama saying they would continue talks on Japan's "possible interest" in joining the TPP negotiations.

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