Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Japan, U.S. negotiators fail to reach agreement on trade

16 Comments
By Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

Top negotiators for Japan and the United States on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on a two-way trade deal and decided to extend talks for another day in a last-ditch effort to bring tangibles to a weekend bilateral summit.

After marathon four-hour talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Ligthizer on Thursday, Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that the two countries were “getting closer to reach a conclusion”.

But he added that negotiations were taking time because they involved details covering a wide range of areas that directly affect both country’s national interest.

“It’s as expected but we’re spending quite a long time,” Motegi said of the negotiations, adding that he will meet with Lighthizer again on Friday.

Motegi is visiting Washington D.C. for talks with Lighthizer, where the two sides hope to narrow gaps on areas such as agriculture and automobiles in order to clinch an early bilateral deal.

Thursday’s talks followed a five and a half hour meeting on Wednesday, suggesting negotiators were making last-minute efforts to reach some agreement when Japanese and U.S. leaders meet on the sidelines of a weekend Group of Seven summit in France.

Motegi said he will fly straight to France and may join the meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump, where the two will likely discuss trade among other topics.

When asked whether the bilateral summit could reach a conclusion on trade, Motegi said: “We’ll see what we can do (in talks) tomorrow.”

Under his “America First” policy, Trump has been urging Japan and other trading partners to take steps to fix what he sees as unfair trade imbalances with the United States.

During his visit to France, Trump will talk to his counterparts about how to open up their markets to ensure U.S. businesses have avenues to sell good and services.

While separate trade talks with China and Europe have made little headway, Trump is keen to clinch an early deal with Japan that would open up its politically sensitive agriculture sector, as well as curbing Japan’s U.S.-bound auto exports.

Japan, on the other hand, wants the United States to cut tariffs on imports of car parts and industrial goods - something Washington is reluctant to do.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Man,the US should be all over this.

The Japanese economy is on a one-way street and the direction isn't forward due to its demographic time bomb.

The Japanese contingent are clearly playing off the back foot.

The US market for all of its flaws will only keep growing and Japan dearly needs access to it.

That is why I couldn't understand a few years ago how badly Australia screwed up its FTA with Japan.One was a buyers' market and the other a sellers'.

Those days where Japan represented a huge market of 'middle-class' customers have long gone.Japan is now a market of mainly poor or old people with a smattering of well off.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@Spitfire

Agree. The closed markets of Japan has doomed it into an irrelevant economy in the world market. It's 100% reliant on others' buying it's products, it's consumers are tapped out and it's potential for growth is nil.

Mr. President, please put a 25% tariff on all imports from Japan immediately.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Thank goodness for President Trump. He's exactly what the country needs right now. He's going to negotiate a better trade deal and make America great again.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Thank goodness for President Trump. He's exactly what the country needs right now. He's going to negotiate a better trade deal and make America great again.

Right! He’s winning so much it’s getting tiring.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

U.S. trade negotiators are representing greed of big agriculture businesses of America.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan will never have a favorable or reach an advantageous agreement as long as the super mega rich running Japan aren't getting enough. Why milk the cash cow when its running low and you can get another cou next door for absolutely nothing to lose but your own country...hmmm. just don't get it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Again, this is Trump making America First. But, we will continue to use Japan to host our military bases and will insist Japan buy military arms from us to boost our economy. Furthermore, Japan must agree to participate in our military misadventures, Amen. From the "Chosen One".

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I can’t wait for my next car to be a low taxed yank tank!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And yes,Trump is really looking after the interests of Americans; first!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Give Japan a break!

Tokyo is America's only staunch and loyal ally so Trump should give Abe better terms.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

America wants that 1980 deal that cripple Japan. Can we get the same deal says Trump? You know the one where 3 decades are lost economically for Japan while America keeps rising to 20 trillion dollars, while you stay at 5. That's how we like it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

More failure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is going to be very interesting and I strongly suspect Japan is seriously underestimating American resolve. Misreading Trump, they expect America will do anything to clinch a deal and roll over at the 11th hour. The default assumption of her negotiators is therefore likely to be that all that’s necessary is a mere tinkering with the rigid script that has always served them well and which assumes the maintenance of a tightly controlled domestic market while enjoying unfettered access to America’s. If that’s the case, and nothing suggests otherwise, they are setting themselves up for a big fall as they grievously fail to understand that the US will no longer tolerate being treated as a cat’s paw on trade.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

America wants that 1980 deal that cripple Japan. Can we get the same deal says Trump? You know the one where 3 decades are lost economically for Japan while America keeps rising to 20 trillion dollars, while you stay at 5. That's how we like it.

What deal in 1980?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As much as I hate many policies under Trump administration, I have to say I like his market instincts on certain things (like this negotiation with Japan). He knows where to poke at opponent to get what he wants and knows a weakness when he sees one. No positive outcomes for Japan in this unfortunately.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As much as I hate many policies under Trump administration, I have to say I like his market instincts on certain things (like this negotiation with Japan). He knows where to poke at opponent to get what he wants and knows a weakness when he sees one. No positive outcomes for Japan in this unfortunately.

Joint Statement of the United States and Japan issued September 26, 2018

5. The agreement mentioned above is designed to be mutually beneficial, and, in conducting those negotiations, the United States and Japan will respect positions of the other government:

For the United States, market access outcomes in the motor vehicle sector will be designed to increase production and jobs in the United States in the motor vehicle industries; and

For Japan, with regard to agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan’s previous economic partnership agreements constitute the maximum level.

Pretty much the same tariff schedule aligned with TPP which Trump aborted because he wanted to destroy Obama’s legacy. But in the end, Trump gets credit for it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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