Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi Photo: REUTERS file

U.S.-Japan trade talks will bring peace of mind to farmers, automakers: Motegi


Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said trade talks with the United States will bring peace of mind to farmers and automakers, according to an interview with public broadcaster NHK aired on Sunday ahead of a key bilateral meeting this week.

Motegi handled talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer under his previous role as economy minister and is expected to meet him ahead of a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"(We) have been holding negotiations on the basis of trust," Motegi told NHK in the interview. "I don't have any worry at all about the things ahead."

Trump and Abe are expected to secure a deal on farm tariffs and digital trade when they meet in New York this week. Full details of the prospective trade agreement have not been disclosed.

One unresolved issue relates to auto exports. Motegi has said he wants a written assurance that Trump will not impose tariffs on U.S.-bound auto exports from Japan.

However, any promises arising from this week's talks will still need Trump's final approval, adding uncertainty to the prospects of a deal, Japanese sources familiar with the matter told Reuters recently.

Autos make up about two-thirds of Japan's trade surplus with the United States and such tariffs would hurt its trade-reliant economy. Japanese manufacturers have already come under heavy pressure this year from slowing overseas demand.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

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I truly hope that things will be as U said, Mr Motegi because my travels to local communities in Japan, I saw the real sufferings of the Japanese farmers & many cars factories closed. We Japanese cannot stand any more sweet talks of the trump's administration. That was just 3 weeks ago. After 1945, we cannot be always giving way to U.S.A. We have to feed correct hard working people in Japan. Lets not let real honest people in Japan suffer any more.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

 I saw the real sufferings of the Japanese farmers & many cars factories closed. 

The causes have nothing to do with Trump, as domestic car sales have been on a decline for several years already. and the effects of his trade policies in farm products will take time to be felt. If Japanese farmers are suffering, it's due to their own demographics, especially so many young Japanese are keen to flee the rural communities, leaving a shrinking number of elderly to tend the crops.

But, hey, blaming foreigners for your own problems gives one a warm and fuzzy feeling, so why not, ne.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It must be hard for this guy to keep a straight face given the hypocrisy of Japan's trade policies. Don't worry Japanese farmers: We will keep our import tariffs high. Don't worry Japanese automakers: We will ensure the Americans keep their import tariffs low.

In the meantime, Japanese taxpayers will buy American corn and wheat that will be donated to developing countries.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You can not force Japanese to buy US cars and rice. The US needs to do a better job of selling their their products.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

You can not force Japanese to buy US cars and rice. The US needs to do a better job of selling their their products.

Nobody is forcing anybody. Free trade leaves everybody to their own choice. Too many commentators, both foreign and Japanese, claim to speak for just over 125,000,000 people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

 The US needs to do a better job of selling their their products.

Yeah, Apple does a pathetic job of selling iPhones. if the US has a problem "selling their products," it's due to market access, not effort. When the iphone first came out, Steve Jobs flew to Japan to meet directly with executives at DoCoMo, Japan's No. 1 carrier. But they rejected his request to offer the iPhone in Japan. Softbank, then a smaller upstarted founded by a US-educated Korean, was the only one willing to accept the world's most popular handset.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Surely, Mr Motegi means that trade talks will bring more choice to the Japanese people?

Peace of mind is not really the goal of talking about trade, is it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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