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U.S., Japan to Launch Talks on Bi-lateral Trade Agreement

The United States and Japan announced on 26 September plans to launch negotiations for a bi-lateral trade agreement on goods, as well as other key areas including services, that can produce “early achievements.” The two countries also intend to hold talks on other trade and investment items following the completion of the trade agreement discussions.

According to a joint statement by President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the United States is seeking market access outcomes in the motor vehicle sector that will increase production and jobs in the United States in the motor vehicle industries. For its part, Japan said the market access outcomes for agricultural, forestry and fishery products reflected in its previous economic partnership agreements “constitute the maximum level.”

The two leaders also pledged to strengthen co-operation to protect their companies and workers from non-market oriented policies and practices by third countries, including by promoting discussions on World Trade Organisation reform and e-commerce and addressing unfair trading practices such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, trade-distorting industrial subsidies, distortions created by state-owned enterprises and overcapacity.

The statement indicated that Washington and Tokyo will “refrain from taking measures against the spirit of this joint statement during the process of these consultations,” which suggests that Japan could be excluded from any import tariff increases the Trump administration might impose following its on-going Section 232 national security investigation of automobiles and auto parts. The two sides added that they will “make efforts for the early solution of other tariff-related issues,” which could include the higher duties the United States has levied against steel and aluminium imports.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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