Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee made the following statement after the announcement that Japan will request membership in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations:
“Japan’s interest in joining negotiations is a major step toward expanding the economic reach of TPP, which negotiators are already seeking to shape into an ambitious and comprehensive 21st Century agreement.  Japan is a major economic partner and strategic ally in a geopolitically essential part of the world. There are remaining issues that the Administration has raised and, while progress has been made, I would encourage both governments to dedicate themselves to resolving these legitimate issues.  
“The countries of the Asia Pacific region will continue to be essential strategic partners in the future.  It is in our national interest to engage this fast-growing region and deepen our relations through regional and bilateral diplomacy, increased military engagement, and improved economic relations.
“If done right, TPP will promote innovation, high labor standards, help small and medium sized businesses participate, and allow our country and the Pacific Northwest to more actively compete in international markets.  Nearly 40 percent of jobs in Washington State are trade related, and by potentially reducing barriers for U.S. goods to this region, exporters will have greater access to markets and opportunities for growth.  I will continue to monitor TPP negotiations as they advance to ensure that our trade partnerships are the best deal for the American people.”