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Expert: Japan doesn’t need to rush to reach agreement in trade talks with U.S.

By Masahiko Hosokawa, specially-appointed professor at Chubu University


Interviewed by Akihiro Nishiyama


We should not consider President Trump’s comment signaling an announcement on trade in August as “pressure.” Considering the fact that he previously mentioned his hope to reach an agreement in May, I think his reference to August indicates that President Trump understands Japan’s request not to conclude an agreement before the Upper House election (that is likely to be held in July.)


In fact, President Trump’s remark is an indication of his impatience to quickly conclude negotiations. His real intention is to achieve “results” by this autumn, when the campaigning will start in earnest for the presidential election to be held in the fall of 2020.


Japan does not need to rush to reach an agreement. It should convince the U.S. that the U.S.’s request for Japan to drastically reduce tariffs on agricultural products should come with lower U.S. tariffs on Japanese cars. What is being called into question is the U.S.’s attitude. The additional tariff of up to 25% on imported cars that President Trump has “threatened” would actually be difficult to implement, because it would disrupt the global economy and the U.S. Congress would not support it. We should not be too fearful of “threats.” 

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