Trump Says US, Japan to Enter ‘Initial Trade Agreement’

19-Sep-2019 Intellasia | USNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

THE WHITE HOUSE ON Monday night announced plans to enter into an “initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers” with Japan an accord that currently lacks substantive details but would still likely represent a win for President Donald Trump’s efforts to reshape America’s international trade landscape.

Trump told lawmakers that he planned to iron out tariff and digital trade issues with Japan in a series of negotiations that would not require congressional approval. Specifics of the deal were not immediately available, though Japanese officials on Tuesday indicated currency manipulation standards would not be included in the initial agreement, according to Reuters.

“My administration looks forward to continued collaboration with the Congress on further negotiations with Japan to achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Japan,” the White House said in a statement.

But it appears there is still work to be done. Japanese Foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters in Japan that he wanted to reconfirm with the US that tariffs on Japanese autos and car parts would not be implemented under Trump’s pending Section 232 tariffs, which slap duties on imports deemed a national security risk, according to Bloomberg.

In the White House message to Congress, President Donald Trump said "...my Administration has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers (the “agreement”) with Japan and I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks."(Getty Images)

In the White House message to Congress, President Donald Trump said “…my Administration has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers (the “agreement”) with Japan and I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks.”(Getty Images)

Trump has long begrudged Japan for maintaining a trade surplus with the US, but officials in Tokyo aren’t thrilled about the idea of Japanese auto exports being slapped with additional tariffs. Analysts also expect Japan will agree to future purchases of and reduced tariffs on American agricultural products and other exports in any final agreement.

“A deal with Japan could really help the agriculture industry, and we’re moving in that direction,” Dan Ujczo, an international trade and customs lawyer and practice group chair at Dickinson Wright law firm, told US News in a recent interview.

Ujczo, however, notes that “it’s pretty clear we’re not getting a comprehensive deal with Japan” and are instead “doing this in stages.” Whether future negotiations follow the initial deal announced by the Trump administration on Monday evening is unclear.

Japanese and American trade officials met in Washington in August and have for months hinted at the prospect of some sort of bilateral trade accord. It is expected that the White House, in particular, will want to strike a deal by the end of the year to give Trump a victory on the trade front. Though tensions have softened with China, a substantive trade agreement is still believed to be a ways off. And threats of tariffs on European and Japanese auto imports have global supply chains and international vehicle markets on edge.

“They need to put a win on the board,” Ujczo says of the administration.

Japan sometimes has been viewed as a more agreeable nation with which to negotiate a trade agreement particularly when compared with America’s ongoing negotiations with China. A substantive deal would represent a victory for a Trump administration that prides itself on deal-making but has yet to deliver many tangible agreements.

The US-Canada-Mexico Agreement the administration’s most significant trade accord to date is still awaiting congressional approval as Democratic lawmakers, in particular, shy away from embracing the Trump-negotiated deal.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world-report/articles/2019-09-17/trump-says-us-japan-to-enter-initial-trade-agreement

 


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