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Breakingviews : Trade miss won't sink abenomics

Bareksa28 April 2014
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Breakingviews : Trade miss won't sink abenomics
Despite failing to seal a trade deal with U.S. President Barack Obama, Japanese leader Shinzo Abe can still bank on smaller reforms opening up the economy - (Reuters/Andy Mukherjee)

Despite failing to seal a trade deal with U.S. President Barack Obama

Bareksa.com - As part of the U.S. pivot to Asia, Andy, President Barack Obama in Tokyo last week. Now he did more than eat sushi, obviously, with Prime Minister Abe, but they didn't pull off a trade deal. Is this a big miss for Abenomics? Well, Tara, well you're right. But then, that's also the most convenient way to see it, right? That Abe is unable to take on the vested farm interest, which keep Japan's tariffs on imported rice as high as almost 800 percent. But focusing too much on big bang reforms like the TPP deflects attention from the many small reform initiatives that we have seen recently in Japan. Take for instance, agriculture. Now the two special zones that have been approved by Prime Minister Abe will see a significant change, and towards consolidation of agricultural plots, which is urgently needed to make Japanese farming competitive. Then you will also have easier labor laws and more foreign workers in Tokyo and Osaka in a couple of years. There's also some determination in the government to reign in the ballooning healthcare costs. As you know, Japan has universal healthcare. So, this will create fiscal space for corporate tax cuts, which will again be very important. And add them all up, and the reform zeal in Abenomics is actually not missing from action as much as investors suspect. (Source: Reuters)

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