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Japan-U.S. trade deal may come into force on Jan. 1

  • September 26, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 12:28 p.m.
  • English Press

New York, Sept. 25 (Jiji Press) — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that he expects a Japan-U.S. trade agreement will come into force on Jan. 1, 2020.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump signed a document confirming their countries’ final agreement on the bilateral pact at a meeting in New York on Wednesday.

Lighthizer told reporters that the trade agreement will be effectuated “on Jan. 1,” if Japan completes its approval procedures in an extraordinary session of parliament that will start in October.

The Trump administration plans to take a special measure to put the trade deal into force without receiving approval from Congress, through the use of presidential authority, as congressional deliberations are likely to be stalled, with the Senate and the House of Representatives controlled by different political parties.

Regarding additional U.S. tariffs on imported Japanese vehicles that may be imposed by the Trump administration on the grounds of national security, Lighthizer said that the auto tariffs are not part of the agreement “at this point.”

He said that “at this point” it is not Trump’s intention “to do…anything on autos.”

Meanwhile, Trump told a press conference on Wednesday, “For farmers, we have a tremendous trade deal with Japan.”

He showed expectations to expand U.S. exports to Japan through an early effectuation of the trade deal, which focuses on tariffs on agricultural, industrial and other commodities.

Trump, who aims to get re-elected in autumn 2020, emphasized his achievements on the deal in front of representatives of U.S. agricultural groups and others at the start of the summit with Abe.

At the press conference, Trump said that he and Abe “signed a terrific new trade deal, which tremendously helps our farmers and ranchers, and technology.”

He emphasized that Japan will open its agricultural market to 7 billion dollars’ worth of U.S. farm products. According to the Office of the USTR, over 90 pct of U.S. agricultural goods exported to Japan will enter the country tariff-free or be subject to reduced tariffs.

The Trump administration has been growing impatient with the prolonged trade war with China and the effectuation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement among 11 countries in late 2018. Trump withdrew his country from the TPP framework in 2017.

The administration has failed to make progress in receiving approval from Congress for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement, despite the signing of the pact last year.

The Japan-U.S. trade deal may become the first achievement of the Trump-style trade strategy, which draws compromise through threats to impose high tariffs.

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