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Editorial: Do not forget the bigger goal in the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue

The Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue has started. The Abe administration’s competence is being tested on how it will deal not only with specific issues, but also with the bigger goal of correcting the defects of globalism in its discussions with the Trump administration.

 

Talks on the issue of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), one of Japan’s greatest concerns, were put off at the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence on April 18.

 

In addition to the delays in the Trump administration’s cabinet appointments, it would seem that the U.S. did not want to disrupt Japan-U.S. cooperation in light of growing tensions in the North Korea situation. We would like to focus on two points in the full-fledged discussions that are expected to start this fall.

 

First, the U.S.’s targets in trade liberalization are autos and agricultural products. Japan should be able to compromise up to the level agreed upon in the TPP talks. However, will the U.S. come up with stronger demands?

 

President Donald Trump’s policy stance is unpredictable, as seen in the decision not to designate China as currency manipulator. Japan will have to sit down and carefully craft its negotiation strategy.

 

Second, we hope that the widespread gap between the rich and the poor in the advanced countries as a consequence of globalism will not be forgotten.

 

For sure, job creation and realization of a stable livelihood are urgent issues for Trump, since he had made these pledges to the people who elected him.

 

However, international cooperation is indispensable even in achieving such goals as prevention of tax evasion by multinational companies, which is one of the defects of globalism.

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) members have serious concerns about the Trump administration, which has withdrawn from the TPP and defies the WTO.

 

What will be the better option for the American people, not only in the short-term, but also in the mid- and long-term?

 

The U.S. has shown signs of changing its “America First” policy in the area of security. We hope that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has built good relations with Trump, will play the role of making him return to international cooperation in the economic field. (Slightly abridged)

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