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U.S. can no longer sustain huge trade deficit with Japan: Ross

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So how about making stuff that the Japanese will want and buy?

6 ( +18 / -12 )

Why is it only a problem with US goods and food.

I see plenty of stuff from Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada and more.

Munches on his German Muesli.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Visit almost any Japanese supermarket and marvel at the restricted range of goods and high prices!

The cut price supermarkets of Europe which offer high quality goods such as venison and lobster do not exist in Japan.

Japan is glacial in its attempt at deregulation.

15 ( +22 / -7 )

I can get Campbell soup at 165yen/can and more.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Mr Ross is diligently working to meet the requirements set by his boss. The problem is that his boss obviously hasn't thought this out very carefully. The combined trade deficit with Japan, Germany and Mexico is only $197 billion. Our deficit with China alone is a whopping $347 billion. A 5th grader would know where to start working on first to reduce the deficit,  but everything Trump said that he would do about "China" that is "raping us" during the campaign seems to have been forgotten. Unlike his other failures, in the case of China, he hasn't even tried. I guess that factory in China pumping out neckties, and China recognizing his brand name is more important to him than our trade deficit. Not only has not even tried, he's effectively handed the future of the Asian economy to China by pulling out of the TPP. Does he even understand why he did so, other than his fixation on destroying anything remotely related to "Obama"?

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Ross is right. When Tokyo Sky Tree was constructed, the media, politicians and industry bragged about how it was a "Japan only" project -- built without any foreign contractors or suppliers.

That mindset is fine...if you're a hermit kingdom. But Japan trumpets on about "free trade" and "global supply chains", Everyone (except the Japanese) can see the cynical double standard.

The Japanese could do way, way more to open their market for construction/infrastructure equipment, machine tools, chemical products, and so on. These areas remain largely "Japan only," and often deliberately for political purposes.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

President For Sale: 1946 Model 45. High mileage. Uses oil, has an exhaust problem. Needs major overhaul. Will sell cheap. Guaranteed free shipping anywhere outside of the US.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

So how about making stuff that the Japanese will want and buy?

you obviously do not understand trade. Want to buy and given the opportunity to buy are different. Japan does not even give their consumers a choice with most things.

There is a shortage of squid in Japan now but instead of importing they just raise the price and say shoganai

Shortage of potatoes, same thing.

All the while building their economy on 30% of their countries exports going to the US with no barriers. It is not fair

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Ooops. Free trade is free trade, and if we want to take the trade regime back to the 1930s, Mr. Ross, then get ready for some "medicine" for the sick US economy. Know how the problem gets solved if we want to get back to reality?

The US dollar goes to about 30 yen to the dollar and stays there for about 20 years. Oh, but that will mean inflation in the US like nobody has ever seen, but hey, we want to get rid of that trade deficit, right? People need to understand that the only reason Japan listens to Ross' whining is that Japan has invested heavily in the US for the last 50 years.

There are other ways to work things out, such as the US imposing a high carbon tax at home and exporting all of the fossil fuels it does not need because it will stop wasting so much. Public investment in education and anti-poverty measures, which will save government expenses in the long run, will also help.

This trade deficit problem has been growing since the 1970s because the US refuses to use its funds for anything but fighting wars that have brought dubious results. I don't see why that is everyone else's fault.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Visit almost any Japanese supermarket and marvel at the restricted range of goods and high prices!

Beef is an excellent example.  Its so overpriced here its almost a luxury item.

The cut price supermarkets of Europe which offer high quality goods such as venison and lobster do not exist in Japan.

very true.

Japan is glacial in its attempt at deregulation.

Hear hear. 

There is a shortage of squid in Japan now but instead of importing they just raise the price and say shoganai

Shortage of potatoes, same thing.

And don't forget butter.  A shortage and the prices have been raised ridiculously.  Its over 400 yen now for a pack.  The food prices are ridiculous.  All this as the public's real wages continue to plummet as the gov and BOJ continue their quantatative easing and future rise of the sales tax.  Its insanity.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

The U.S. trade deficit with China continued to be the single largest

China 31.4 billion

Mexico 6.5 billion

Japan 6.4 billion

As OssanAmerica stated its not hard to see where to start, obvious to anyone with a brain cell.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Dogdog Today 08:10 am JST

OssanAmerica.

Mr Ross is diligently working to meet the requirements set by his boss. The problem is that his boss obviously hasn't thought this out very carefully. The combined trade deficit with Japan, Germany and Mexico is only $197 billion. Our deficit with China alone is a whopping $347 billion. A 5th grader would know where to start working on first to reduce the deficit, 

The deficit with Japan is actually more worrying because the US trade deficit with China is mostly in lower-value items like toys, clothing and sneakers, etc. These jobs are never going to come back to America due to the low wages these industries pay. and If they were not made in China, they would be made in Vietnam, Cambodia or Bangladesh and exported to America from these countries instead.

Reducing the trade deficit with any trading partner is not tied to "bringing back jobs".  The objective is "balanced trade" and our deficit with China is off the charts.

On the other hand, America's trade deficit with Japan is based on higher-value items such as autos and machinery. These industries pay much higher wages and the US should strive to bring such high paying manufacturing jobs back to America.

So tell me what US industry is making autos or machinery or any other high value item in Japan, that we need to bring back to U.S. manufacture? None, because anything made in Japan costs the same or more than the U.S. In fact, if you look at the auto industry look at the factories that Japanese auto companies have in operation in the U.S.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

China 31.4 billion

This may be true but China buys a lot more US goods than Japan. The point is not cars or this and that, it is protectionism and one-sided trade. I defy any intelligent person without an agenda to defend Japan's one-sided trade policies.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

So tell me what US industry is making autos or machinery or any other high value item in Japan, 

Again this is a short-sided uneducated view of the situation. Whether US goods would be bought by Japanese is not the point, the point is the Japanese government does not give their consumers a choice.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Dango bong This may be true but China buys a lot more US goods than Japan.

It's not maybe true it is true. The numbers speak for themselves despite your weak attempt to defend China.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

despite your weak attempt to defend China.

I am not defending China. I am saying that if a country buys US goods we can overlook the deficit numbers. Do not turn the argument into an emotional one, it is what it is. Buy our things and you will not be punished for one-sided trade policies.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

So how about making stuff that the Japanese will want and buy?

You mean like American food? Which Japan tariffs at rates from 25% to more than 700%?

Japanese people love to buy imported goods, but between tariffs, weak yen, and price fixing (Japan Inc is able to force Japanese retailers to keep foreign goods on backs shelves). to keep imports uncompetitive, few are sold.

An America car costs at least twice as much in Japan as it does in America. And before you say that American cars are not designed for Japanese roads, remember that British, Italian, French, and other makers also have the same problems selling in Japan. Only Germany, which long ago threatened Japan with limiting access to the German market, has good sales in Japan.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

The bottom line is when 30% of your entire economy is reliant on one country, you better listen to them when they are not happy with your sneaky, protectionist, one-sided selfish policies.

Finally things will be fair. Or at least more fair. Nobody with even a sliver of intelligence (not deluded with a pre-existing agenda) can look at Japan's current trade policies and say they are fair. NOBODY

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Dango bong Today 09:05 am JST

So tell me what US industry is making autos or machinery or any other high value item in Japan, 

Again this is a short-sided uneducated view of the situation. Whether US goods would be bought by Japanese is not the point, the point is the Japanese government does not give their consumers a choice.

What's uneducated is barging into a thread without reading the exchange, My statement above is a response to Dogdog's post stating that there are high value items that US companies are making in Japan, which could be "brought back" to the U.S. Even Dogdog wasn't talking about what goods would be bought by Japanese consumers or whether they have a choice or not.

Dango bong Today 09:02 am JST

China 31.4 billion

This may be true but China buys a lot more US goods than Japan

What are you talking about? It doesn't matter how much what country buys from the U.S. What matters is how much they sell to us vis-à-vis how much we sell to them.

Japan sells us $69 billion worth more than we sell to them. China sells us $347 billion more than what we sell to them. That is what is called a trade deficit.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Setting aside the politics and cultural concerns over Japanese agriculture & food self-sufficiency, nothing would make me happier than having the ability to buy groceries (and beer!) that's reasonably priced.

I love traditional Japanese farming villages and would sorely miss them if they were die off, but given that the countryside (& farming) has already been abandoned to the elderly under the Tokyo-ization of Japan, is that really avoidable? I always made an effort to buy locally grown, organic food when I lived in Oregon but doing so in Japan would make the prices at Whole Foods seem cheap.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

sangetsu03: Why do American cars cost twice what they cost in the US? There are no tariffs. It is just that US automakers are trying to sell the cars as high end or luxury, which they are not, and we are not fooled. European cars sell well because we like the style and comfort. And incidentally, Google US tariffs. Loads of them. You also see French, British, and Italian cars in Japan. You can Google that too. In recent years, over 300,000 foreign made vehicles are sold in Japan each year.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So how about making stuff that the Japanese will want and buy?

There is alot of stuff Japanese people want to buy. The problem is the protectionist policies of Japan Inc.,

block or make doing business so expensive that is is a losing proposition to even try to import anything into the country.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Agree with gokai what are the trade figures with EU goods and countries.

Don't recall seeing many US cars and goods back home.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

British cars??? Most of them are Japanese brands like Nissan, Honda, or Toyota.

The French and Italians are doing good in Japan, Peugeot sold nearly 7,500 units last year, Renault sold 5,300 units fiat nearly 7,000. Check it out for yourself.

http://www.jaia-jp.org/wp-content/uploads/private/201612NewCarNews.pdf

The best selling US brand was Jeep at over 9,000 units.

Using cars as a comparison is the most stupidest thing since unlike Europe or the US, Japan doesn't place any import tariffs on them.

Another interesting thing, YourMechanic an US site released how much a maintenance cost on average per brand and the top 5 were all Japanese brands for the least costing.

https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/the-most-and-least-expensive-cars-to-maintain-by-maddy-martin

In terms of models 8 out of 10 were Japanese for least cost in maintenance with Toyota Prius at top.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If your only counter arguments are "What about China?" and "Japanese will not buy American cars" then you are missing the point. The point is clear:

Japan and US have an unfair trade balance because Japan is protectionist while US is free.

It will change.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

President For Sale: 1946 Model 45. High mileage. Uses oil, has an exhaust problem. Needs major overhaul. Will sell cheap. Guaranteed free shipping anywhere outside of the US.

Love it, Crazy Joe!

He is right though. There is a huge deficit that needs to be balanced. Markets need to be opened. I do think that China is breathing a sigh of relief though after all of his rhetoric during the campaign, he seems to be quite cosy with them now. Now, tell me. Who didn't see THAT coming? LOL

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Lmao, I wonder what Xi told Trump during their meeting? Whatever it was, it certainly was more effective then what Abe said to Trump.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Visit almost any Japanese supermarket and marvel at the restricted range of goods and high prices!

The cut price supermarkets of Europe which offer high quality goods such as venison and lobster do not exist in Japan.

I think you/we are looking at it through Western eyes. As much as I would like to find venison (game in general) pate and meat, meat pies, cheap/good cheeses, cold meats, Coopers beer at jpy 3,000 a slab etc in Japan I understand that J taste is different to oz or france/europe and as such I should not expect to have access to the exact same products am used to (or was used to) back home. In any case, reckon it's probably easier to find 'euro' prods in japan than to find J ones in Europe, or the us, oz, nz etc.

Re costs, with a bit of effort one can find good/cheap veggies & fruits a few min from home, directly from growers, and it's much, much cheaper than at supermarkets.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dango bong: I am not defending China. I am saying that if a country buys US goods we can overlook the deficit numbers. Do not turn the argument into an emotional one, it is what it is.

Nothing emotional about clear numbers, your weak attempt to make it so notwithstanding. I'll say it again, your weak defense of China does not hold up in the face of these statistics.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So how about making stuff that the Japanese will want and buy?

There is plenty, but when competing with Japanese government subsidized goods the products are over priced.

There is no way we should be paying, like 2,000 for 5 kilos of rice. And the list goes on....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Dyson is doing well in Japan, yet Toshiba & Hitachi make comparable products at a 1/4 of the cost.

Ditto for iRobot, Kaercher, etc.

Many franchises, companies also do well here. Wonder why?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Forgot Apple.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is no way we should be paying, like 2,000 for 5 kilos of rice.

That is because you are being ripped off by your local market. The place I buy it's 1300yen for 5Kg.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Agree with Triring.

Average price I pay too, 1.600-1.700 at the most.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For decades after World War Two industrial products and daily commodities made in the U.S.A. charmed consumers the world over. “Made-in-USA” was associated with high quality and reliability and so people the world over bought U.S.-made products earnestly regardless of what that might result in their country’s trade balance. 

Today, though, other countries have caught up with the U.S. as to the product quality and reliability while the U.S. concentrated most of its energy on upping the quality and quantity of weaponry. Non-U.S. products can also compete with U.S.-made products quite easily price-wise.

Trump and his team must look squarely at this reality.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan has manipulated trade for decades most of the time with the USA permission to do so. But now

we have a President who liked a stopped clock is right about once a day (night does not count) on this

particular matter . Japan has a artificially weakened currency to support exports from Japan and has a restricted market for many products, not all, in order to protect local producers. The USA has a far less restrictive market due to the naive beliefs in free trade that republicans spout along with the denser of the economists out there. The Yen should be at about 75 to the dollar, not the current manipulated 112

according to PPP analysis.

Abenomics will fold like a house of cards if the USA gets serious about stopping the free ride Japan

has created at the expense of USA workers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

According to Internet, https://www.thebalance.com/trade-deficit-by-county-3306264

Germany is at 65 billion in deficit, Mexico at 63 billion, Japan at 69 billion, China at 347 billion . . . See also  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_the_United_States

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I live in Hawaii and the number one automobile is Toyota. The only reason you see domestic vehicles is that half are rentals. I drive a Chevy because I work at a Chevy dealership. My car is a 2016 and already I'm have issues. Fortunately I can get it fixed quickly. The bottom line is that we need to make better products.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

again uneducated people are missing the point, free market vs closed market is the issue. anything else is a smoke screen

0 ( +5 / -5 )

your weak defense of China

I am not defending China, you are sliding the focus from Japan to China which is not relevant tot his discussion

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Toyota, Isuzu also rule in Africa(mostly pickups) most are build in South Africa.

Few US cars, etc there too.

Again why do US makers not suceed in so many markets.

Can't be down to protection, tarrifs, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Any mention of China or cars is simply a diversion from the actual issue, which is Japan protects its market while enjoying free trade in the US.

It is not fair. It will change. Please enough about China and cars

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Abe must be in tears... again.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The following are the top countries that have trade deficits with the US:

Hong Kong, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Australia, Singapore, Panama, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Qatar, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Peru

Are they complaining about the US? No, it just shows that Trump and company don't understand how trade works.

You mean like American food?

Japanese people are not much into XL size twinkies.

The Japanese could do way, way more to open their market for construction/infrastructure equipment, machine tools

Japanese steel companies use a lot of steel machinery.

Trump is just mad because Japanese people don't buy Buicks the way Americans buy Toyotas.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@nishikat none of that has anything to do with the fact that Japan sells freely in the US while blocking the US from selling in Japan.

There is a shortage of squid, butter and potatoes in Japan right now. Instead of importing, Japan protects the farmers while raising prices. All the while selling in the US for free.

This is the issue, not cars and China.

It will change VERY soon

1 ( +7 / -6 )

none of that has anything to do with the fact that Japan sells freely in the US while blocking the US from selling in Japan

Squid butter and potatoes? So all Japan has to do is open markets to squid, butter, and potatoes and the US will be happy? OK!! Problem solved. Japan exports industrial goods and imports.....squid, butter, and potatoes. Why didn't Donald Trump say so?

Japanese steel companies use a lot of German steel machinery.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Dango.

If there are shortages they could import from anywhere on the globe.

If they singled the USA out for non-importing you might have a point.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Dango bong I am not defending China, you are sliding the focus from Japan to China which is not relevant tot his discussion

Its entirely relevant due to the hypocritical nature of what the US are doing.

Dango bong again uneducated people are missing the point, free market vs closed market is the issue. anything else is a smoke screen

And by the way you would do well to stop calling people uneducated. At least they can see what you cannot.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If there are shortages they could import from anywhere on the globe.

Yes and still they do not. The US is the only one calling them out on it

Its entirely relevant due to the hypocritical nature of what the US are doing.

hypocritical is exporting freely and blocking imports, which is Japan in a nutshell

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

About the highly protected farming industry in Japan, since nobody among the new generations want to do farming any more, isn't it just a matter of time until the current farmers pass away and the farming industry will HAVE to open up, thereby lowering prices? I mean they can't rely on domestic farming if there are no farmers to do the work.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So and what?

Aussie beef sells well here as does Brazil chicken. etc.

US beef remains mostly untouched.

The US needs to figure out why their produce don't sell closed market or not.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

hypocritical is exporting freely and blocking imports, which is Japan in a nutshell

You are complaining about squid, potatoes, and butter?

If they singled the USA out for non-importing you might have a point.

Hong Kong, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Australia, Singapore, Panama, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Qatar, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Peru

Again, none of those countries are singling out the US even though they take in more US goods than exporting to the US. It's just Trump complaining about nothing. If Trump is going to complain about this then countries like Singapore and Australia should too (and they are not). But some people really like to complain because japan has a block on squid, butter, and potato imports. Well, what can I say???

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Argentina and Qatar? Come on. We are talking about world economies here not peanuts. Please..

Japan exports almost $60 billion more to the US than they take in. I bet that number dwarfs the number of all the countries combined you mention.

This is a ll skirting the issue, Japan can trade freely in the US while blocking the US from Japan, which is not fair.

It will change soon

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I think American companies are not good at promoting their products.

That is my point, besides promotion catering to locals.

Japanese loved 'Old Navy' but they closed with Gap reducing stores, granted retailers are closing in the USA putting people out of Jobs.

Japanese do love US goods as can be seen often with franchises opening up. But those rarely survive oncs the fad/novelty is gone.

US firms have to figure out how to succeed McD, KFC, etc did.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Again. Saying Japanese do not like US products is not the point. The Japanese government does not allow Japanese to select American products because of protectionism. The Japanese sell 60 BILLION more dollars of goods to the US than they buy. It's not........ fair.......

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Dango.

If japan is so strict why are there so many european, etc products?

Yes, japan has rules for importing beef, etc which many countries happilly follow, guess who does not and insists on their own.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Italy, my country, has a huge trade surplus with Japan. Japanese buy tons of our food, because it's high quality food.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Argentina and Qatar?

I understand that Trump thinks Argentina and Qatar are trashy countries. But Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Singapore are not, according to Trump. These countries have just as much to claim against the US as the US has to claim against Japan. The US is doing a lot of of economic damage to Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Singapore and it will change soon. The US needs to open their markets to Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, and Singapore.

It's not........ fair.......

OK, OK. we will try to get Japan to buy more squid, potatoes, and butter from the USA which will fix this trade balance. Then everyone will be happy, OK?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You don't have to agree. We get our way. We always do :)

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

American food is garbage, everyone know it. That's why also here in Italy nobody want American food. We think it is unhealthy, ogm, and stuff. Here we don't have even Starbucks, because American coffee can't compete with Espresso made in Italy. About cars, we prefer German cars.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

No need to agree.

Obvious how US goods sell in Japan(not that good) US beef, etc is available though.

Not going into franchises that started and have now none or 1 or 2 locations left.

And that goes back 20yrs.

Walmart performance is also so-so.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The bottom line is when 30% of your entire economy is reliant on one country, you better listen to them when they are not happy with your sneaky, protectionist, one-sided selfish policies.

@Dango bong, what is that 30% referring to? Japanese exports to all countries only amount to about 18% of its GDP (it's quite small compared to many countries, e.g. Germany, France, UK). Of those exports, about 20% goes to the USA. So perhaps 3-4% of Japan's economy is reliant on exports to the USA.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The US should STUDY the markets where they want to succeed, rather than try to force in those markets the same products that they sell in the US. As I already said, here in Italy Starbucks never opened, because they already know it would be a failure. So they prefer don't even open, rather than to fit their services and products to the Italian market and taste.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I am getting less educated the more comments I read on this story. Is 'short-sided' like the opposite of supply side, dudes?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder if this has anything to do with pressuring Japan to buy American cruise missiles.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Zichi: well, at least they are trying. But after how many years? I hope they studied our market very well, because this is what the US should do, rather than complain about the fact some Countries don't want their food. They need to promote their food as healthy and high quality to fight the common idea that it makes you obese.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@goldorak

Hardly!

Let me give you an example.Back in January 2017,I was back in the U.K..

A certain cut price supermarket had imported Canadian lobsters at around 800 yen each.

Don't the Japanese love lobster?

Japanese lobster is at minimum 5000 yen retail,for a small one and the median retail price is 3000 yen for imported.

In Tokyo I hate to think what you'd pay in a restaurant but over 15,000 yen is a good start!

Other food severely overpriced is chocolate,biscuits as well as fruit and vegetables.

The reason food is expensive here is that from farmer to consumer there are too many middlemen taking a cut i.e. the system is inefficient and clearly disadvantageous for the consumer.......

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Zichi: if you have read the first article you linked about Starbucks in Italy, you should understand how the culture of Express isn't "in danger" because of Starbucks...We already have hundreds of "bars" that offer the same concept as Starbucks, but with Italian coffee, and at a cheaper price. Starbucks could survive because of the huge number of foreigners and tourists in cities like Milan and Venice.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

15.000 for a restaurant visit me and most japanese prefer a lot less.

Family of 3 at Sizzlers is less.

Nice to have that money.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I wonder if Apple, Amazon, Mcdonalds and other American megacorps are sending their dividends to headquarters,probably not many.

Time to change Article 9 of the Constitution Japan, enough extortion!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well. The arguments seem to be spinning around. Look. Here is another way of looking at it. There is nothing inherently wrong with a trade deficit. It all gets financed one way or another. The US is a huge debtor nation, and that really has little to do with Japan in terms of scale or time line. It is a debtor nation because it borrows to purchase foreign goods and it borrows to consume and produce domestic goods. It is no mystery and no surprise.

In fact, the US set the world up that way after WWII. Everyone trades. Everyone borrows and lends, and everyone gets what they want.

The only "problem" now is that the US borrowed and borrowed and borrowed, and now it either wants to borrow more or just walk away from the debt it owes to everyone. Frankly, by inflating its currency or depreciating it against other currencies, it wants to walk away even from the debt it owes ITSELF.

This is just a fact. It has nothing to do with Toyotas or butter or beef. Prices are not that different anymore in Japan and the US. Not really. This is simply an excuse or finger-pointing that Trump's people are attempting. The US set up a trade regime that has HUGELY benefitted the US over many many years, and now it wants to smash it and try to get more benefits by walking away from its obligations. Japan did everything the US asked it to do for 70 years and now the US is still pouting. ENOUGH.

Trump has to figure out some way of dealing with the problem just as every president before him, since Bush I really, has had to do. And Trump won't do it. He will blame everyone BUT Americans for America's debts and deficits. Or he can deal with the problem, which will of course make him hugely unpopular, so forget I even brought up that possibility.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Other food severely overpriced is chocolate,biscuits as well as fruit and vegetables.

The reason food is expensive here is that from farmer to consumer there are too many middlemen taking a cut i.e. the system is inefficient and clearly disadvantageous for the consumer......."

Which has NOTHING to do with trade deficits, right? I think the US trade negotiators once called this a "structural impediment," but what it comes down to is that this price problem is NOT institutional.

Example. How about COSTCO? This is a US chain store that has its own shipping. Supposedly, it is its own wholesaler and retailer, passing the savings on to you, the shopper, right? It should be making money hand over fist and its stuff should seem really cheap and really useful for everyone. Except it isn't. It keeps its prices pretty much just as high as Japanese chains. Maybe there is a bargain here or there, but not much overall.

The case of Costco shows that 1) YES you can open large stores in Japan, so there is no trade barrier there. and 2) NO you won't magically get lower prices even if you take away what US negotiators would call "structural impediments."

So what is the US complaining about? I think it is just whining because it does not want to pay for what it buys from Japan, and it buys a lot. Trump wants Japan to make the US "a better deal" when the US has been sucking at Japan's teat since Reagan.

One last thing. Hillary's people understand the problem and would have worked the problem by increasing investment in the US and trying to handle the problem domestically. Trump's people see all of America's faults as the result of external adversaries. Because the latter is NOT REALLY THE PROBLEM, nobody will make progress on this issue until he is out of office.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It has been demonstrated that most of the products which Trump sells are made overseas, so I guess that means he is not serious about this Buy American campaign.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

US economy is unfixable because its relying on borrowed founds and blaming things

on trade deficit is not the way to make it any better..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Setting aside the politics and cultural concerns over Japanese agriculture & food self-sufficiency, 

It's all about politics, and has nothing to do with food self sufficiency. The LDP buys the votes of the farmers (rural voters get three votes per person in Japan) via subsidies funded by tariffs. Without tariffs and subsidies, the LDP would no longer be the sole political power in Japan.

Next, keeping foreign goods out of the market is good for Japan Inc (in the short term, in the long term it is proving fatal). And in return for allowing Japan Inc to run a virtual monopoly on the domestic economy, Japanese politicians can count cushy jobs for themselves when they retire from government service, or jobs for their sons and grandsons, or simply for a bag or two of bank notes in large denominations.

Pretty soon the high cost of living created by these practices (which makes food and finished goods more expensive than they otherwise would be), you end up with an uncompetitive economy, and a downward slide in the population.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Pretty soon the high cost of living created by these practices

Too much imagination here. I find Japan very affordable compared to my home country.

from government service, or jobs for their sons and grandsons, or simply for a bag or two of bank notes in large denominations.

Is this Japan in the 1970s?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The nature of trade deficits of China and Japan with the US is significantly different.

A significant part of China huge trade surplus with the US, is from US MNCs based in China exporting to the US, where they gained significant profits while paying low labor and other resources' costs to the Chinese. The big gains are actually accrued to American executives and shareholders.

While most of Japan huge trade surplus with the US, is from Japanese manufacturers based in Japan exporting to the US, where they gained significant profits, providing high level executive and labor and resources' compensation to the Japanese and their shareholders.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is nonsense.

Every poster here is running a trade deficit with their supermarket. Has your supermarket every bought anything from you? Is this destroying your personal economy?

Trade deficits don't exist because the US is trading money for products.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A trade deficit means you are running a surplus of imports relative to exports. Look at Venezuela - the people there would love to have an abundance of imports right now.

What do the people who you buy your import surplus from do with the money that you pay them? When trading with the US the currency paid is US dollars. Those dollars don't get scrooged away under tatami mats, they stick around in the US. They go to finance US investments, at least until such a time as the owner wants to buy something with the money.

So why is this 'trade deficit' a problem in the first place? Because it sounds bad?

That all said, Japan is horribly protectionist. Japan is good at making cars, but America is good at stuff like agriculture and growing lots and lots of food. Japan would benefit greatly if its consumers were permitted to buy abundant, competitively priced food products from the US.

The only reason this hasn't happened is because the LDP has political links to farming groups in Japan who have failed to adapt under the protections they have enjoyed thus far. At the expense of every other consumer in Japan, and efficient producers in the US and elsewhere.

The point of free trade is that people make what they are good at making and buy what they are not good at making from others.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan would benefit greatly if its consumers were permitted to buy abundant, competitively priced food products from the US.

The US can't buy meat from Japan at all. Also, I see Mexican avocados in Japan and they are about the same price as you can find in the US.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The US can't buy meat from Japan at all. Also, I see Mexican avocados in Japan and they are about the same price as you can find in the US.

Wrong. Kobe beef is very popular in American restaurants, and can be found in some American supermarkets. For some reason, it costs less than half in American than it does in Japan.

Mexican avocados cost anywhere from 200 yen to 300 yen, depending on what store you go to. In America you can get them for less than $1 each, and if they are on sale, you can get them as cheaply as 3 for

$1. My local grocery store had corn on the cob this week for 298 per ear. When I barbecued in California last month, I could get 5 ears for $1, meaning that in Japan the price was 15 times as high.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Not sure where you guys shop but I can get lower prices than the ones stated.

Not sure about US prices though but than this is neither the US, EU, UK or any other country so they don't apply.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wrong. Kobe beef is very popular in American restaurants, and can be found in some American supermarkets. For some reason, it costs less than half in American than it does in Japan.

Because it's fake: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-kobe-beef-served-in-the-us-is-fake-2016-7

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most of the Kobe beef sold in the US is fake.

Unlike the US, Kobe beef has perfect traceability. Here is the list of how much had been exported.

You'll find the US had not imported more than 2 tonnes a year.

http://www.kobe-niku.jp/contents/exported/index.php?y=2017&page=1

As for Mexican avocado they are always on the shelves of 100 yen Larson.

Don't know about corn on the cob, basically when in season I find about 298 yen for 3 cobs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, one of the main American news outlets, has demonstrated how Russians funneled over $100 million to Trump through bogus real estate deals. This information publicly available, although the exact amount of money paid to Trump in land deals outside the USA is not available. What do the Russians get for all of that money? Trump is worsening relations with our allies, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Canada, et. al., and cozying up to murderers and dictators all around the world. Putin is getting his money's worth. Meanwhile, the American FBI can do no better than investigate Hillary's aide's husband's emails.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Trade of USA (goods)

Export to China $116 billion   Import from China $462 billion

Export-import cover ratio (import/export) 0.25

 

Export to Japan $63 billion   Import from Japan $132 billion

Export-import cover ratio (import/export)  0.47

 

Export to Germany $49 billion  Import from Germany $114 billion

Export-import cover ratio (import/export)  0.43

 

Export-import cover ratio for Germany is almost as same as Japan.

I don’t think Japan has peculiar problems about this matter.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The US can't buy meat from Japan at all

says who?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does Japan have an avocado growing industry of any significance to have vested interests that want to protect it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could be, kiwi grow well in Tokyo and Chiba. Friends grow them in their yard.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is not about anti-competitiveness. We Japanese restrict trade for reasons due to safety and quality control. Anything made in Japan has been produced with pride to the highest possible standards to ensure it is reliable and fit for purpose. If we were to allow more food imports how can we be sure it is safe? The same goes for cars and other industries.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

kurisupisu May. 6 03:45 pm JST

Let me give you an example.Back in January 2017,I was back in the U.K..

A certain cut price supermarket had imported Canadian lobsters at around 800 yen each. Don't the Japanese love lobster? Japanese lobster is at minimum 5000 yen retail, for a small one and the median retail price is 3000 yen for imported.

Lobster (Homarus Americanus) is a really bad example to use. It does not exist in the Pacific, can not be farmed due to it's slow growth rate, and needs to be shipped live. Any country facing the Atlantic is going to have/import them at far lower prices than an East Asian country.

5SpeedRacer5 May. 6 06:43 pm JST

Example. How about COSTCO? This is a US chain store that has its own shipping

You're not confusing COSTCO with COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Corp) are you?

TorafusuTorasan May. 6 03:21 pm JST

I am getting less educated the more comments I read on this story.

Couldn't agree with this more.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Does that also apply to Takaka air bags? Or Japanese car recalls. Some cases of contaminated food like the milk and also cases of mislabelling.

Although we Japanese strive for perfection there are always a very small number of cases where quality control is not delivered to the highest standard. However in the case of Takata there is still no firm proof that they have done anything wrong. In any case I believe they had the best intentions to produce an airbag to the highest possible standards.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Anything made in Japan has been produced with pride to the highest possible standards to ensure it is reliable and fit for purpose.

Because individual consumers can't pick and choose products by evaluating the quality and price of products by themselves? And because Japanese producers never get lazy and price their goods and the right one without their feet held to the fire by foreign competitors?

If you were being sarcastic then I get it...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is not about anti-competitiveness. We Japanese restrict trade for reasons due to safety and quality control. Anything made in Japan has been produced with pride to the highest possible standards to ensure it is reliable and fit for purpose. If we were to allow more food imports how can we be sure it is safe? The same goes for cars and other industries.

I see. I guess this is why Japanese houses last so long and definitely don't fall to pieces after some years.

In the case of Takata I believe the company was putting profits ahead of safety. It's not unique to Japan, nor is it uncommon in Japan. For example, we can find many examples of out-of-date food being relabelled and sold in Japan (by Japanese companies), food that should have been given to animals sold to humans, food grown in Fukushima relabelled as being from somewhere else etc. In each case the Japanese companies put profits before safety. To claim that Japanese food is "safer" than imported food doesn't make any sense.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Thumbs up Scrote. In any case, let each individual decide for themselves. There is no need at all for the government to jump in and preclude consumers from making decisions all by them-adult-selves (unless it's actually all about protected vested interests and votes).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In recent decades other countries tried to emulate the U.S. for its industriousness and productivity while the U.S. itself was lost in money games and war games. So I often wonder if Trump's campaign pledge to "make America great again" through his "America first" policy will come true.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The US has had a trade deficit for over 30 years and the only effect is that buying low cost foreign goods reduced inflation in the US.

I've had a trade deficit with beer companies for many years. I've bought their products for decades and they've never once bought anything from me.

Trade deficits don't matter, unless I'm completely wrong and Americans are anxious to work in dirty factories making cheap plastic crap for low wages.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Because if foreign goods were allowed in, its harder to shaft the population with over priced products. A good read is the japanese conspiracy, even if its a little one sided its a good read.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Blame the U.S. Government for lax trade policies and low-quality manufactured goods due to outsourcing. So many people here are unemployed and underemployed due to decades of outsourcing that it may take decades to get a booming economy again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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