The Japan-U.S. trade pact and the U.S.-China dispute over high-tech fields will be the focus of the Japanese government’s trade interactions with the Biden administration.
After the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Japan and the U.S. reached a bilateral agreement, which came into effect in January 2020. The pact reduces Japanese tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, such as beef and pork, while talks are still underway on some of the U.S. tariffs including the tariff on Japanese automobiles. In addition, many in the U.S. persistently call for greater access to the Japanese agricultural market.
For the immediate future, the Biden administration will likely be busy rebuilding the domestic economy, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and will likely choose to address international trade issues later.
The U.S.-China dispute over high-tech sectors, including communications and semiconductors, has a direct impact on Japan, and it will need to coordinate its response with the U.S., while maintaining relations with China, which is the world’s second largest economy and Japan’s next-door neighbor. Japan will be walking a tightrope.
It is likely that the functions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be restored as the Biden administration, with its policy of international cooperation, will be more supportive of filling the Director-General and Appellate Body vacancies.