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U.S., Japan discuss autos, farm tariffs ahead of summit

  • May 23, 2019
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Wednesday evening’s Nikkei, Asahi, and Mainichi reported on trade talks held between working-level officials of the U.S. and Japan in Washington on Tuesday. The papers wrote that ahead of the U.S.-Japan summit slated for May 27, the two governments tried to sort out the points of contention on tariffs on autos and agricultural products. Deputy USTR Gerrish and Assistant USTR for Japan Beeman reportedly participated in the talks. According to Japan’s TPP policy coordinator Shibuya, Deputy USTR Gerrish said that while a gap remains between the U.S. and Japan, the meeting was still meaningful in that each side learned where the other side stands. The two sides reportedly did not discuss proposed U.S. tariffs on auto imports on the grounds that they are “politically sensitive.”


The dailies published follow-up stories this morning, conjecturing that while Japan’s top priority is for the Trump administration to abandon the idea of restricting Japanese auto imports, the U.S. appears extremely eager to seal a deal on agricultural trade quickly. Yomiuri claimed that during the Washington session, the two sides agreed to arrange a meeting or teleconference between Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motegi and USTR Lighthizer ahead of President Trump’s visit to Japan. The two officials will also probably hold talks prior to the G20 summit in Osaka in late June. While quoting an unnamed senior GOJ official as saying that U.S.-Japan trade negotiations have arrived at an “impasse,” Sankei projected that neither side will be able to make concessions readily ahead of their major elections at home.

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