Japan-US trade negotiators fail to close gap

Cheryl Sanders
August 22, 2019

Motegi is visiting Washington D.C. for trade talks that kicked off on Wednesday.

Japan's Motegi reached Washington on Wednesday for trade talks with the United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

Japanese exports to the United States have been rising for eight consecutive months, going up 8.4% in July, while imports from the United States grew up by 3.5%, putting Japan's trade surplus (with the United States) growth at 15.6%. Trump threatened to do so on national security grounds in May, but put off imposing the duties by six months.

The Japanese yen is weakening midweek after reports that Tokyo is set to finalize a partial trade agreement with the US.

The Japanese and United States governments are hoping to reach a deal after two upcoming bilateral summits - one on the sidelines of a G7 Summit that opens in France on Friday, and the other during a UN General Assembly session in late September.

Motegi told reporters afterward they had narrowed down the points at issue and agreed to speed up their remaining work.

The U.S. Trade Representative had no immediate comment on the meetings.

Japan is the world's biggest cheese importer and a significant buyer of whey, lactose and other dairy products.

This partial trade agreement is expected to involve opening up Japan's agricultural market to USA goods in exchange for reductions in United States industrial tariffs.

USA beef and pork farmers have been lobbying Trump to push Japan to agree to the same low tariffs for their products applied to imports from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signatory countries like Australia and Canada.

Japan wants a deal that reduces tariffs on its exports of industrial goods and auto parts to the US.

Japanese officials are opposed to adding such language in the deal, for fear of having their hands tied in battling any unwelcome yen spike that hurts the country's exports.

Other reports by iNewsToday