Ford's chief wants talks to wrap on Asia-Pacific trade deal before adding nations

Ford, along with Chrysler and General Motors, have expressed major problems with Japan joining the talks, arguing that the government restricts auto-imports with non-tariffs barriers. 


"In Japan's case they need to demonstrate to the world that they want to move to being a free-trader because they're currently not a free-trader today," Mulally said.  

"Let's get it done just like we did on the South Korea free trade agreement."

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R) and ranking member Sandy Levin (D), who both attended the meeting, have said they have issues with Japan joining the talks until they make changes within their economy to open their market to more imports. 

Mulally also told lawmakers on Wednesday that they need to focus on what can make Ford and other U.S. companies more competitive, including overhauling the tax code and reducing corporate tax rates. 

During his day-trip to Washington, Mulally also met with Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


When it comes to adding nations to the TPP, U.S. trade officials and business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have said they generally back the entry of the three countries but concede that each have specific issues to address and it is difficult to determine how long it would take to get up to speed. 


Some trade experts said recently that the "window is narrowing quickly" to let Japan, Canada and Mexico join discussions to avoid a delay in the talks, which the nations have said they hope to complete by the end of the year. 

The nine nations — United States, Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — will talk during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers meeting in Kazan, Russia in early June to discuss progress and agree on a plan forward, including whether to add Japan, Canada and Mexico into the mix. 

The next round of TPP consultations is in early July in San Diego.