U.S President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrive for a news conference at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday. Photo: AP
politics

Japan denies it gave away too much in trade talks with U.S.

39 Comments
By Leika Kihara and Kaori Kaneko

Japan's top government spokesman denied on Monday that Tokyo made too many concessions in trade talks with the United States, saying the fact the two countries were able to reach a broad agreement was "very valuable."

The United States and Japan agreed in principle on Sunday to core elements of a trade deal that President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they hoped to sign in New York next month.

A final agreement would cool a trade dispute between the two allies just as a trade war between the United States and China escalates, but some Japanese commentators say Tokyo gave up too much.

In announcing the deal with Abe on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, Trump made no public commitment to drop his threat to slap additional tariffs on Japanese automobiles.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he believed the United States would not resort to fresh tariffs because Trump and Abe had previously agreed that Washington would hold off while talks were under way.

"Japan and the U.S. have negotiated based on the joint statement last September," Suga told a news conference in Tokyo."Related ministers agreed based on that, so it was very valuable."

The agreement was reached after marathon talks between Japan's Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington last week.

Lighthizer said the deal, which covered agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade, would open up Japanese markets to U.S. goods and lead to a substantial reduction in tariffs on such items as beef.

Japan imports about $14 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products, and the agreement will open up markets to over $7 billion of such products, Lighthizer said, adding that beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, and ethanol would benefit.

Trump said Japan has agreed to buy excess U.S. corn that is burdening farmers as a result of the tariff dispute between Washington and Beijing.

There was little information on what Japan gained from the deal. Japan's Nikkei newspaper reported the United States will not cut the 2.5% tariff it applies on Japanese automobiles for now, and it will be discussed in separate talks.

In May, Trump declared that some imported vehicles and parts pose a national security threat. But he delayed a decision on imposing national-security tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act for up to six months to allow for more time for talks with the European Union and Japan.

Policymakers in Tokyo fret that Trump could still impose the tariffs or set import curbs on Japanese automakers. Getting Trump to scrap the tariff threat is a key element of success for Japan in signing a deal.

"It's hard to say whether the deal is a favorable one for Japan, unless it's exempted from the Section 232 auto tariffs," said Junichi Sugawara, senior research officer at Mizuho Research Institute.

"The U.S. could make harsher demands ahead. When that happens, Japan doesn't have any cards left," he said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
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Such deal marked the death of Japanese farmers!

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Freer trade between deveoped democracies sounds good!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

If it is "handled by the private sector", doesn't that mean that supply and demand applies? We we don't want it, there will be no new imports.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

All I want is my US bacon. I don't want Japanese bacon. Tastes too real and natural. I miss the crispy and probably really bad for you bacon that is so delicious in the US.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Abe is such a weak man! Which says even more about the people who voted for him!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Let the spinning, ducking and dodging begin.

What a loser!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I can't wait to buy US beef which contains more meat than fat (unlike Japanese beef)! Bring it on!

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Such deal marked the death of Japanese farmers!

I remember when they let whiskey in, and people screamed "it will be the death of shochu makers!"

And look what happened.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"Assume the position" Abe-san

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Abe's been desperate in his butt kissing to Trump, that to please him he'd sellout. Needs to go to the China playbook of how to deal with trade bullies.Makes Japan look weaker than already considered. Japan only flexes against easy targets like the Koreas which they know they will win. Kowtowing to the U.S. is not a good look.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No way Abe gave away too much.... I've been in Japan for 37 years and I've never seen any Japanese Government give in... especially when it comes to trade. If Abe bought certain farm food and such... it may never see a market in Japan. They'll just store it until it goes bad. They don't care if they lose money... as long as their exports continue they're good.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Will be looking for Nikkeiren and Keidanren's response. If the auto industry takes a hit on tariffs Abe would have basically thrown them under the bus. He needs to have it in writing that trump will not do this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan denies it gave away too much in trade talks with U.S.

Sounds like this is way better for the U.S than TPP.

America First. Finally.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Why would a country buy corn, or anything besides military stuff? Doesn't that just mean Japan will allow citizens to buy corn without interference (lower or no tariffs, reduced import procedures, etc)?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cars and parts, a national security threat, ?? someone please explain to me. Does the mean right wingers will only use Japanese cars while causing domestic terrorism.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan denies it gave away too much in trade talks with U.S.

What an odd headline!

Japan wasn't consulted. Japan gave nothing away. If anyone gave anything away it was good old strong-as-a-sapling-in-a-hurricane Abe!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People... don't fall for this headline.... the deal hasn't even been finalized. I'll bet it won't be finalized for at least 6 months to year too. And if for some reason it gets done.... Japan won't be on the losing side. Trump is between a rock and a hard place... he's the one that needs to get something done, not Abe.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, and President Donald Trump , definition and understanding of a broad agreement are incompatible, politically and economically.

Publicly, there will be an agreement in principle, privately Japan negotiators will play the waiting game, stall and string along, yes means no, maybe means never

1 ( +1 / -0 )

" it is not clear what Japan gained from this deal" the article says. Well, the truth is, Japan gained nothing in return. Trump will still impose the auto tariffs and will come back demanding more concessions from Japan knowing the Abe will always say yes to him. The US grains/corn Japan has agreed to purchase will not end up on the Japanese market. It will be stored and later given as food aid to Africa and South Asia.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Trump chimed that the Japanese will buy more American cars? Really!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If it is "handled by the private sector", doesn't that mean that supply and demand applies? We we don't want it, there will be no new imports.

When you say "we" don't you mean me (you). There are too many people in Japan who claim that they represent everybody in Japan.

Many of my Japanese friends buy foriegn products. Good to see that the days of "we Japanese" are slowly coming to an end".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like this is way better for the U.S than TPP.

but its not , Japan clearly stated that they would lower US tariffs any lower than what other TPP members have, and they havent , just a bit of tweaking here and there to make it look like Trump had a big win, which he clearly hasn't . Hardly any different than if he stayed in the TPP

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Such deal marked the death of Japanese farmers!

wrong Japanese farmers marked their own deaths by not becoming competitive and expect the J taxpayer to contiue to give them handouts to survive. Japanese agriculture accounts for less than 1% of Japans economy yet consumes over 6% of the annual budget. If I received than much free cash from the J government for my business Id be retiring early.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Trump chimed that the Japanese will buy more American cars? Really!

Yeah. More than one but a lot less than what will make a real impact. Can't say I blame them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These trade talks would’ve been a Japanese negotiator’s nightmare. To have been a fly on the wall! You can easily imagine the home team with their pained looks and hissing intake of breath through pursed lips; the Americans telling them that they had a choice between reciprococity or the highway. The ‘enemy’, bloviating on in their fashion about win/win and how cheaper imports will be great for Japanese consumers who will now be able to buy reasonably priced fruit and vegetables, beef and pork, to their heart’s content. Two negotiation teams, worlds apart in their understanding of each other, both aware that failure was not an option and keenly aware that history is sweeping them along to who knows where. From a Japan resident perspective, we can only hope that the Americans held their nerve, and the Japanese negotiators feet to the fire, long enough to ensure that what Japan has signed up for does not once again revolve around shafting Suzuki san and denying him his deserved share of the national spoils. My visits to the supermarket will henceforth be with a certain degree of expectation of seeing noticeable positive change as a result of Japan’s ‘concessions’, exultation if it does, shikata ga nai resignation if it doesn’t.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Such deal marked the death of Japanese farmers!

No it won't. It will mark the end of a system which has fostered a corrupt, inflated, outdated, protectionist agricultutal system, which could'nt give two hoots about the consumer.

It will transform rural Japan for the better. Gone are the days of "we poor little Japanese farmers".

Quite honestly, if anything President Trump has been too soft in my opinion. Tariffs on Imported rice are way too high.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a good deal for both USA and Japan. I am puzzled by why some people say there is only one "winner". Japan gets tons of top quality corn, and helps out US farmers, and will agree in principle to take steps to allow more US autos to be imported. Japanese consumers can decide if they will buy them. And on the other side, Trump will not raise the tax on Japanese cars above 2.5%. Win-Win.

The US grains/corn Japan has agreed to purchase will not end up on the Japanese market. It will be stored and later given as food aid to Africa and South Asia.

There is nothing wrong with Japan donating food that is the excess to there need to poor, starving Africa and South Asia at times of disasters. Its a credit to Japan to do it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Trump said Japan has agreed to buy excess U.S. corn that is burdening farmers as a result of the tariff dispute between Washington and Beijing.

That pretty much gives it away, Japan is bending over to save Toyota. And getting absolutely nothing in return.

But, as with the 80s when the USA back then forced the trade issue, nothing changed. Nothing will this time as well. When Trump is in jail after his loss next year Japan will still have a massive trade surplus with the USA.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe so weak

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is nothing wrong with Japan donating food that is the excess to there need to poor, starving Africa and South Asia at times of disasters. Its a credit to Japan to do it.

.... and you Ganbare are a credit to Japan to have that mindset.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Abe on its knees before Trump.

This deal is a win-lose for sure.

Win for which party ?

Lose for which one ?

Easy and obvious replies isn't it ??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In today's trade talks, Trump wanted Abe to import the leftover corn, which China did not import.

Abe was embarrassed and said he would think about private exchange.

But, Trump announced in front of reporters that Japan had decided to buy all the corn.

 Abe was embarrassed and said, 'No, it's not a government, but it's private.'

And , Trump say "Japanese civilians do everything the government tells them. It's different from us."

Abe said nothing. The bottom line is that Abe bought corn that the US couldn't reach in China. 

And " Korea, Kim Jong-un and Japan is good my friends. Let's see what happens in the future", Trump said.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

500 yen for US beef that actually has beef to feed 4 people or 10.00 for fat that barely feeds one person. hmmm.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why deny it ? It is a great deal made by great leaders for great people.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Freer trade between deveoped[sic] democracies sounds good!

Only one of these two partners is a "developed democracy".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just in case Japan can’t eat all that corn, they can be turned into ethanol and be blended into gasoline.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan gets tons of top quality corn, and helps out US farmers, and will agree in principle to take steps to allow more US autos to be imported. Japanese consumers can decide if they will buy them

The issue with this, as it is in South Korea, the taxes on imported vehicles are so high that it makes them unaffordable so you turn to the Japanese vehicles instead. My car in America was literally $16,000 cheaper than the base model in Japan. My car was 7 models higher than the base model. But the base model here was still $16,000 more expensive in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

wrong Japanese farmers marked their own deaths by not becoming competitive and expect the J taxpayer to contiue to give them handouts to survive.

so true, japan agri is a joke. potatoes the size of a walnut, tomatoes not much bigger but x4 the price of anywhere else. Tea leaves soaked in herbicide and farmers, who after they die, have nobody to replace them. Its one sector Japan can afford to loose. Most of the food you eat in these chains in Japan comes from abroad anyway.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@TheLongTermer

potatoes the size of a walnut

Erm, they are called “baby” potatoes, aka new potatoes.

It's what they come out of the ground like if you pick them early, and they taste delicious.

It's what the market wants (small mouths prefer small potatoes).

Its one sector Japan can afford to loose.

Read up on "food security".

It's a sector that needs to be protected and expanded to eliminate foreign dependency.

Many of what problems do exist in Japanese agricultural are unavoidable (high restricted quantity of land), the rest date back to the forced re-distribution of the land post-WWII by the Americans where the large estates were split up and distributed to individual landworkers, leading to the smallscale plots.

It was a deliberately policy of the USA to disempower the old landowning classes and distrupt social order.

Weaking agriculture was a byproduct I don't think they considered at the time.

As for the "soaked in herbicide", are you going to tell me you feel safe with all the Chinese food imports?

There are plenty of traditionally grown teas if you want them, as in organic.

You don't strike me as a typical tea connoisseur but I would not buy anything else.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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