politics

Trump says U.S. has reached trade deals with Japan; no word on cars

38 Comments
By David Lawder

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday Washington had struck trade agreements with Tokyo that could be implemented without congressional approval, but stopped short of assuring Japan that new tariffs would not be slapped on vital auto exports.

In a letter to the U.S. Congress released by the White House, Trump said that he intends to enter into the agreements on tariff barriers and digital trade "in the coming weeks" and was notifying lawmakers that the tariff deal would be made under a trade law provision allowing the U.S. president to make reciprocal tariff reductions by proclamation.

"In addition, I also will be entering into an Executive Agreement with Japan regarding digital trade," Trump said in the letter.

Neither agreement would require a vote in Congress under the so-called "fast track" approval process. The Trump administration last year notified Congress that it would pursue negotiations with Japan under this method.

On a critical issue to Japan, Trump's announcement left unclear whether he has agreed not to impose threatened national security tariffs on Japanese vehicles and auto parts. Avoiding the "Section 232" tariffs of up to 25% was a major motivating factor for Tokyo in negotiating with Washington on trade.

"At the finishing stage, we plan to reconfirm that 232 won't be imposed," Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's lead negotiator, told a regular news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Trump said after the G7 summit last month that he was not considering auto tariffs "at this moment".

Over much of the past year, the scope of talks has narrowed to exclude the automotive sector, the source of most of the $67 billion U.S. trade deficit with Japan.

Instead, Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in August announced an agreement in principle of a deal that covered reductions in tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods, but not autos.

A spokesman for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer could not immediately be reached for comment on the letter and the trade deals.

Trump and Abe said at the G7 summit in France that they hoped to sign the agreement at this month's United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Trump's letter did not disclose any content of the agreements, but Japan had previously said it was willing to consider a deal that would reduce agriculture tariffs to levels previously contemplated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that Trump quit on his third day in office in 2017.

Trump's letter said that the United States would pursue further trade negotiations with Japan.

"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," Trump said.

U.S. technology industry officials say they expect the digital trade agreement with Japan to be closely aligned with provisions in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which follow the U.S. model for internet development.

The USMCA provisions aim to ensure the free flow of data across borders without taxation, prohibit data server localization requirements and limit governments' ability to require the disclosure of source code by the companies they regulate.

For Trump, the signing of even a partial trade deal with Japan centered largely on agriculture would provide some relief to U.S. farmers who have been battered by a 14-month U.S.-China trade war and lost market share.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
Login to comment

Big brother gets all, thats america & Japanese trade deals Japanese producers get dead and americans gets all ???. Abe san, it is time to stop dealing in this way with americans & trump. Look at the iowa conrn deal. How many Japanese farmers are u going to kill ???. We have to eat and if we produce the best products in Japan, like food ingredients , cars and everything else, whay are we buying tasteless, american ingredients & rattling american cars ???.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Under Donny, whatever comes out of WH is generally much different from reality. So we’ll wait and watch to see if Donny really pulled off a deal, or is it a watered down excuse to feed to his not so bright supporter base.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Under Donny, whatever comes out of WH is generally much different from reality

Beat me to it! Damn you!!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Basically the USA will sign the same TPP agreement that everyone else was on board with two years ago. The U.S. may get to export some cars to Japan without stringent inspections but that is about it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Basically the USA will sign the same TPP agreement that everyone else was on board with two years ago. The U.S. may get to export some cars to Japan without stringent inspections but that is about it.

Yet Trumpophiles will scream that it's a huge victory.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

American cars do not fit on Japanese roads, parking lots and house parking especially. Plus they refuse to switch the steering wheels.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Basically the USA will sign the same TPP agreement that everyone else was on board with two years ago.

I would be very disappointed if the "independent" agreement with the USA is the same as TPP. If so, then it looks (and is) totally unfair to the TPP member countries. If it is the same then the TPP countries should renegotiate.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

American cars do not fit on Japanese roads, parking lots and house parking especially. Plus they refuse to switch the steering wheels.

I don't see any mention in the article about American cars being exported to Japan; it's about tariffs (or not) on car parts (to service the Japanese cars made in US factories?)

I think even with zero tariffs on US cars coming into Japan, not many would be sold. Trump might be able to beat Abe about the head with a golf club, but he can't make Japanese consumers want American cars.

Invalid CSRF

7 ( +8 / -1 )

American cars do not fit on Japanese roads, parking lots and house parking especially

Very lame statement, are American cars cargo trucks? Even japanese trucks run on Japanese roads.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Japan's profitable trade surplus with the USA will remain as it is for foreseeable future

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

And tomorrow, we learn that this is all wrong! When are we going to learn that Trump's approach to politics is to create chaos with all if its allies, which makes Trump's master, Putin, very happy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As long as they keep giving us 2yr young cattle here in Japan vs the older cows, makes for better beef at lower costs. IF the American car was made here in Japan to fit the standards then I would be willing to buy an American car, just difficult with the steering, turn signals, wiper switch on opposite side and tolls.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The elephant in the room, Japan’s (mandated) hostility towards foreign motor vehicle imports. In all of the other major markets, including China and Korea, the foreign vehicle market share is waaaayyyy higher than Japan’s. German automotive excellence doesn’t prevent that country, with its 40+ million fewer people, from importing five times more than Japan. Even South Korea, with only about 40% of Japan’s population, will soon overtake Japan in the value of foreign vehicles sold there compared to here. When most of the US-Japan trade imbalance is comprised of automobiles and automotive parts, it’s a no brainer that Japan must finally lower the drawbridge and embrace reciprocity.

http://www.worldstopexports.com/cars-imports-by-country/

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That japanese flag in the picture is really thin. It's like stars and stripes with a red circle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yay. Ford F250 dualies on narrow Japanese roads, scraping concrete fences on both sides of the street.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If the US made stuff that Japanese want, the deficit would disappear. Now there are many very successful American companies in Japan, and they are busy trying to figure out how to keep Trump from ruining everything.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

What Trump says and what is reality are often (at least 10,000 times) totally different things.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Americans have always put their benefits higher than the interests of the rest of the world.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The idea that all American cars are huge is just simply plain wrong. Not my opinion - a fact anyone can check on.

And if bigger cars were not suited for Japanese roads, pray tell how come there are so many Big japanese vans on hte roads here. From Toyota Alphards, Noahs etc to Nissan Serenas, Grand Aces to Mitsubishi Delicas to Honda Stepwagons and the list goes on and on. Plus the tons of mid size SUV and 4wds. How do these millions of vehicles cope with the Japanese road conditions??? Go to any Ski-jo in winter and the car(s) of choice are Vans or 4wds travelling on narrower snowy roads. Go figure.

As some stated - it's more to do with RH drive not being available for any mass import to be successful. Many Euro cars are available in RH drive and a few people buy the LH drive versions coz I think they think it's cool???

Plenty of US cars for roads here, but simply wrong side drive.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The american car makers will not export cars to Japan, if they they thought there was a market for their cars in Japan they would have been here already. A few change in an agreement will not change this as Japan automobile market is pretty open to enter.

Anyway i hope Tesla will speed up their entrance into Japan as we need them to push the JOEMs to release and change to EV cars faster!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@oyatoi

Wat are you trying to say, exactly? Japan, just like any country in the world, is free to choose its preference on consumer products, like electronics and cars.

Japan happens to make some of the most reliable cars in the world, and also some of the most sought after. Just as there's German excellence, there's Japanese excellence in automobiles. From legendary sports cars to reliable Kei cars, to SUVs and crossovers and 4doors/"luxury" cars. European cars are used as status symbols, as is the case with most Asian countries.

China doesn't make quality cars, let's be honest, which is why they only cars from Japanese, Korean and European makers.

South Korea works differently as a society, and, while they value their Hyundai's and Kia's, they prefer foreign, mostly European, cars as a status symbol kinda thing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Meanwhile, GM workers are on strike!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yet Trumpophiles will scream that it's a huge victory.

now the US has basically the same lowered tariffs as the other TPP members, now the US has to try and claw back that market share they lost since the TPP members have had lower tariffs for longer by staying with the TPP. YUGE YUGE win for Trump!? LOL

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Haters gonna hate...ha ha I love it.

Big brother gets all, thats america & Japanese trade deals Japanese producers get dead and americans gets all ???

kinda sucks now that tables are turned, doesnt it?

"Them merican cars, that merican beef and corn, such crap"

all you people do is complain no matter what he does

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Tawkeeo: “Wat are you trying to say, exactly?”

I could say the same thing in regard to your rambling attempt to deflect from my abundantly clear point about Japan as the outlier par excellence when it comes to market share held by foreign automobiles. Unable to come up with any reason to explain Germany’s far greater acceptance of foreign automobiles (5x more), you wisely avoid this altogether and instead rely on that old trope that foreign makers small share of the market is entirely due to the superiority of the domestic product, something which miraculously doesn’t seem to apply when we’re talking about German people’s willingness to buy foreign. Encouraging people to view car imports as status symbols and not as something that everyman should aspire to owning is one more cleverly maintained barrier that a country like Japan must and will eventually get over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's this funny document, called the US Constitution.

The President... shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur....

The House has nothing to say about this, legally.

Wouldn't it be nice if the President spent the 20 minutes to read the document and strive to follow it, like his oath of office promise?

As for cars, American cars are built all around the world with driver controls on either side, as locally expected. The vehicles come in all sizes, including some that would easily fit the roads and alleys of Japan. Whether US car sellers are willing to fit into the Japanese car culture is a completely different issue. There is a relationship between the buyer and seller that goes on for years, unlike in America where the less I have to deal with those people, the better.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Another news story on "there's no news story yet", and 30 speculative comments?

@browny

And if bigger cars were not suited for Japanese roads, pray tell how come there are so many Big japanese vans on hte roads here

Because they have factory lots to park trucks in, not domestic parking outside homes, down little alleys.

It's not the roads so much as the parking. And it's the roads.

Have you ever sized and priced up a parking space in the center of a city near a residential block?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Any statement coming from the current occupant of the White House must be taken with a mountain of salt ... he is the chief purveyor of fake news, disinformation and misinformation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Don't be fooled! America First to heel with the rest. We live in a democracy (an American controlled democracy).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have an American Jeep, but in terms of quality compared to the previous Mitsubishi Jeep, American-made ones have more failures.

The only good thing is that you can still get the parts after years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is only one sure-fire way to figure out whether Trump is lying; watch to see if his mouth is opening and shutting, or if his thumbs are tweeting. If he is neither talking nor writing, then he is probably not lying - yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

pacificwest - thanks for your response.

I'm not sure I understand. By factory lots do you mean American driveways?

And yes I have rented car parking space - thank god that's over.

City Center space is expensive the world over, and I'm assuming most Japanese do not live in the proximity of city centers. If you're talking about Tokyo (not representative of Japan) then yes car parking space would be at a premium both in availability and price. But in regional Japan - mid-sized cities and smaller - space is a far less concern, from my experiences anyway.

And the original point I made was in reference to the millions of large cars here. They all have to be parked, so a few 1,000 extra US Big cars are not going to impact that metric 1 iota. And as I said there are tons of smaller US cars, just they are LH drive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Americans have always put their benefits higher than the interests of the rest of the world.

Ha ha thats funny but what Trump is doing is the 1st step in USA products improving, first they need access to these closed market. The US has many great products to offer to include John Deere, Harley Davidson, I mean both are in Japan, but its weaker than the US. The US has a plethoria of products but the Japanese (and some of you) brainwash themselves into thinking they are inferior, and keep the loop going, only buy Japanese, which allot of this stuff is crap here. A Toshiba washer and Maytag, I will take the Maytag anyday.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, Americans are lazy because they have allot to offer, Japan doesnt, so out of necessity (desperation in some case) they have to produce an over the top product, with allot of unnecessary options, just to have a 1st world exisitance. Id rather have access to all the great the world has, not only Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Big brother gets all, thats america & Japanese trade deals Japanese producers get dead and americans gets all ???

Disagree;

If you've ever done any import of foreign goods ( not just American goods ) for your business in Japan you would know that Japan and Korea are infamous for being overly strict on foreign imports, not only will they destroy a business to keep some products out of Japan. If your business continually imports goods that are being rejected, you will be put on a Black List and then everything you import is subject to an extra check and every check cost loads of cash on each individual item whether you are on a Black list are not. probably this is a little different for large Japanese Corporations, their particular route into Japan of foreign goods maybe entirely different, but small business in Japan that imports foreign goods must jump through the hoops so to speak. Then again if you work for a Large Corporation they always have lawyers and people on retainer to do nothing but this type of import work, where as the small business people must struggle to import foreign items on their own.

The only Industry Japan Inc does not protect is one where there is no demand for in Japan in the first place, every other Industry is fully protected by the State. Like say paper items such as Cards where there is only the business Consumption tax, there is no booming business for this item within Japan, and in fact most American card makers do not care to enter the market as their is no profit in the industry to be made to begin with, so of course it's duty free, surprise not. I once had a founder of a large card maker in the States tell me this, that they had studied the market completely and there was no outlook for profit in the Japanese market, so they only sell wholesale to retail stores, they are not even in the market and never will be unless the culture changes.

You have ask yourself, especially in times past why were American cars many times more expensive in Japan than in the States, and they still are. Or why was the iPhone so late in getting into Japan, at first it was well "our phones in Japan are so much better than the iPhone", and when they did start getting into Japan the largest phone company was last to sell it, they kept it out for years. Now Japanese portable phones cannot even compete against the iPhone even in Japan. Actually I'm not against this idea of protectionism, Japan Inc used to protect their industries as much as they possibly could and it's been rather obvious. In fact I appreciate these protections so much I now live and work in Japan Inc, America has never really protected any major industry except possibly the Aircraft Industry and Weapons Industry in general, until recently, and it's more than likely too late now for the Americans, their era is probably over now, and most of their large industry are now making items outside of the US of A.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The U.S. may get to export some cars to Japan without stringent inspections but that is about it.

The Americans invented the TPP, it's for Large Corporations, Donny just backed out of it. As for the cars, their last concert was in 2018, the American Auto Industry is no more they exported the Industry long before the Cars last concert, and it's basically dead in the US of A. Chrysler is no longer American, and Ford doesn't even make cars much any longer, and if you by a GM car it'll probably break down before you reach 100,000 KM.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyway i hope Tesla will speed up their entrance into Japan as we need them to push the JOEMs to release and change to EV cars faster!!

I've already seen RHD Teslas here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

South Korea works differently as a society, and, while they value their Hyundai's and Kia's, they prefer foreign, mostly European, cars as a status symbol kinda thing.

I was just in SK recently, right before the trade war crap hit the fan. And, in Seoul anyway, the vast majority of motor vehicles were Hyundai/Kia. Easily over 90%, probably more like 95%. I saw only the occasional European car.

Not like in Japan, at least where I am, where Benz, BMW, VW/Audi, Alfa, Renault, Peugeot, and Chrysler/Jeep are quite common. And, where even Jaguar, Maserati, and Tesla are not uncommon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites