US senators want tough stance on Japan in Asia-Pacific trade accord


WASHINGTON — Japan must open up its auto market and be granted no special exemptions if it is to be admitted into a regional trade pact championed by the Obama administration, U.S. senators said Tuesday.

Lawmakers pressed a top U.S. negotiator on how long-standing trade disagreements with the world’s third largest economy — also a key ally of Washington — would be tackled following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decision to seek Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

The pact is widely viewed as part of broader U.S. efforts to intensify its engagement with Asia. With Japan’s entry, the participating nations would account for about 40 percent of global GDP.

But resolving sensitive issues, including Japan’s heavily subsidized agriculture sector, could prove tricky. Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told the Senate Finance Committee hearing that Japan would have to put “all goods on the table” for negotiation.