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U.S., Japan discuss bilateral trade

  • September 26, 2018
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

All national dailies reported on the second round of “free, fair, and reciprocal” trade talks held between USTR Lighthizer and Economic Revitalization Minister Motegi in New York on Tuesday. The papers wrote that Motegi told reporters afterward: “We reached a basic understanding on a course of action for promoting trade between our countries. We hope to produce a positive outcome at the U.S.-Japan summit tomorrow.” However, Motegi did not disclose the details of the talks, saying that he will announce the specifics after the summit.


Asahi wrote that according to a GOJ source, Motegi proposed the launch of new bilateral talks discussing tariffs on agricultural and other products early next year and presented a draft agreement on the possible start of the new talks. The paper speculated that Japan is envisaging a scenario in which President Trump and Prime Minister Abe reach an official agreement on the proposed launch of bilateral talks at their summit to be held on Wednesday. Yomiuri ran a similar report, speculating that the U.S. side expressed basic agreement with the proposal. Nikkei conjectured that Tokyo gave consideration to Washington by agreeing to hold bilateral talks, including discussions on tariffs. The paper also conjectured that Japan insisted at the Lighthizer-Motegi meeting that the United States shelve the idea of imposing additional tariffs on auto imports as a condition for entering bilateral tariff talks.


Asahi wrote, however, that it remains to be seen whether the President, who is strongly dissatisfied with the trade deficit with Japan, will agree to the proposal. The paper conjectured that despite its reluctance to hold bilateral talks, Tokyo has shifted its policy to accept bilateral discussions with Washington based on the judgement that it has no choice but to enter bilateral talks on tariffs in order to avoid high auto tariffs. Yomiuri wrote that attention will be focused on whether Abe will be able to obtain a clear answer from the President.

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