Trump, Abe Sign U.S.-Japan Trade Deal
Should the U.S. finalize this proposed trade deal with Japan?
by Countable | 9.25.19
President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a signing ceremony Wednesday in New York City for a trade agreement that will see the U.S. & Japan open their respective markets by reducing tariffs. Here's a look at what's in this initial deal:
- Under the deal, Japan will open its market to about $7 billion in American agriculture products by reducing tariffs on beef & pork; gradually eliminating tariffs on cheeses, wine, frozen potatoes, and oranges; and immediately eliminate tariffs on almonds, blueberries & cranberries, broccoli, sorghum, and walnuts.
- Meanwhile, the U.S. will reduce or eliminate tariffs on Japanese industrial goods like fasteners, steam turbines, and bicycles in addition to agricultural products like perennial plants & cut flowers, green tea, chewing gum, and soy sauce.
The deal included a side agreement under which the U.S. & Japan will prohibit customs duties on digital products (like software or video games), improve data transfers, and prohibiting data localization requirements or arbitrary access to computer source code.
The U.S. & Japan are continuing to negotiate a broader trade agreement, and have set a goal of completing negotiations within four months.
Countable's original story from August 26, 2019, appears below.
At a press conference, Trump said that “we’ve agreed to every point and now we’re papering it and we’ll be signing it at a formal ceremony.” Abe added that they would task their teams with accelerating the remaining work “so as to achieve the goal of signing this agreement on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September.”
Here’s a look at some of the key elements of the deal ahead of its formal rollout next month:
- Japan will lower tariffs on imports of American agricultural products, such as beef, pork, dairy products, wine, and ethanol. It will also buy substantial amounts of corn from the U.S. to alleviate a surplus caused by the trade war with China. In return, the U.S. will allow up to 3,000 tons of Japanese beef to be imported without tariffs.
- The U.S. will maintain existing the existing 2.5% tariff on cars imported from Japan along with tariffs on various auto parts. However, the Trump administration will promise not to impose a threatened 25% tariff on Japanese vehicles & auto parts.
- U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer indicated digital trade provisions included in the deal will set a new international “gold standard”.
If the trade agreement is signed, it will then go to Japan’s parliament ― known as the Diet ― for ratification. Congress is only required to vote on a trade agreement if it would require changes to U.S. law, and with the formal text yet to be announced, it’s currently unclear whether Congress will play a role in its implementation.
However, if legislation is required or Congress chooses to weigh in the trade agreement could be considered under the same “fast track” process that may be used for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead - White House / Public Domain)
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