WASHINGTON - A senior US lawmaker on Wednesday expressed strong doubt about Japan's willingness to make significant reforms required under a proposed trade pact, while the top US trade official said there was no timetable for a decision on Japan, Canada and Mexico joining the negotiations.
Representative Sander Levin said concerns about Japan's possible entry in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks were more troublesome than questions still surrounding Mexico and Canada's bid to join negotiations with nine other countries on the regional trade pact.
"I'm not sure that TPP can be the arena for successfully confronting those issues," Levin said, referring to longstanding barriers to Japan's auto and insurance markets. "I think we need to be realistic."
Levin, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, made the comments at an event organized by the Emergency Committee for American Trade, a US business group, to build support for the trade pact, which supporters hope can be concluded this year.