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INTERVIEW: Ex-USTR official expects vehicle quota on Japan

  • December 13, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 1:25 p.m.
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 New York, Dec. 12 (Jiji Press) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is likely to push for a quota on Japanese automobile exports to the United States in upcoming bilateral trade negotiations, former U.S. trade official Glen Fukushima has said.

In a recent interview with Jiji Press, Fukushima, former deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Japan and China, also said the administration may impose additional tariffs on Japanese vehicles unless the Japanese government accepts such a quota.

The interview was held in Japanese, ahead of the Japan-U.S. trade talks, expected to start as early as next month.

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation on automotive trade for possible import restrictions on national security grounds under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Based on a joint statement adopted at a Japan-U.S. summit in late September, the Japanese government says the United States will not impose additional tariffs at least during their negotiations.

However, Fukushima said the text of the statement is “very vague,” adding that the two governments apparently have different interpretations on additional tariffs.

How to increase the access of U.S. beef, pork and other farm goods to the Japanese market is expected to be high on the agenda of the bilateral trade negotiations, after Trump pulled his country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after his 2017 inauguration, Fukushima said.

The withdrawal lowered the number of TPP members to 11. The 11-member pact including Japan is slated to enter into force later this month.

Fukushima said the Trump administration appears ready to demand Japan make more concessions in the bilateral talks than in the TPP negotiations, although Tokyo has clarified its stance of rejecting such a demand.

He noted that any negotiation results on U.S. farm goods’ access to the Japanese market are unlikely to be announced before the House of Councillors election in Japan next summer.

On U.S.-China trade friction, Fukushima said the two countries are unlikely to fully resolve structural issues including the prevention of forced technology transfers and the protection of intellectual property rights by the end of a 90-day moratorium on additional U.S. tariffs on China.

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