Trade and Manufacturing Monitor News and insight from our international trade practice group Fri, 01 Mar 2024 00:17:38 -0500 60 hourly 1 U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement – Limited Deal Reached With More To Come Fri, 27 Sep 2019 12:10:15 -0400 On September 25, the United States and Japan reached an initial trade deal to lower certain tariff barriers between the two trading partners. This initial agreement improves market access for certain agricultural and industrial goods and, according to the President, will open markets to approximately $7 billion in U.S. agricultural products. The Fact Sheet released by the U.S. Trade Representative’s office stated that once the agreement is implemented over 90 percent of U.S. imports food and agricultural products into Japan will be duty free or have preferential tariff access. In particular, Japan agreed to lower tariffs on U.S. imports of beef and pork, to provide a country-specific quota for U.S. wheat and wheat products, and to eliminate immediately tariffs on, among other products, almonds, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, grain sorghum, and broccoli. Reciprocally, the United States will reduce or eliminate tariffs on certain Japanese industrial goods including certain machine tools, fasteners, steam turbines, bicycles, bicycle parts, and musical instruments.

Digital trade has been another area of focus in the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations. In this initial deal, the two countries have agreed not to impose customs duties on digital products transmitted electronically such as videos, music, e-books, software, and games, and to ensure non-discriminatory treatment for digital products. The deal will also lower trade barriers for data transfers.

Although there was no specific mention of how the deal would impact the President’s past comments on imposing tariffs on imports of Japanese cars under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the joint statement provided that neither country will impose any further tariffs that would go against the spirit of the agreement.

In 2018, Japan was the United States’ fourth largest trading partner. Trade negotiations for a bilateral agreement between the two nations began back in April of 2019. The joint statement released by the United States and Japan stated that the two countries are aiming to complete trade talks in the next four months.

Comment Opportunity: U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Tue, 30 Oct 2018 10:24:21 -0400 The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has opened a public comment period in connection with the proposed U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement negotiations. On October 16, 2018, USTR notified Congress of its intent to enter into trade talks with Japan. Those discussions cannot begin until mid-January 2019 at the earliest under the requirements of the Trade Promotion Authority law.

Any member of the public – including individual companies, industry coalitions, and trade associations – may submit written comments to USTR by November 26, 2018. That is also the deadline to submit written notice of intent to testify, along with a summary of intended testimony, at a public hearing to be held on December 10, 2018 at 9:30 am. The hearing will be held by the Trade Policy Staff Committee, an interagency committee chaired by USTR and comprised of 20 executive branch agencies that provide input into the Administration’s trade-related decision-making through review of policy papers and negotiating documents, and eliciting public feedback. Procedures are available for commenters to submit business confidential information.

Comments and/or hearing testimony may address any issue that the submitter believes is relevant to the development of USTR’s negotiating objectives for the agreement and policy positions going into the discussions. Examples include, but are not limited to, advice on existing product- or industry-specific barriers to trade, including specific tariffs; measures that may be taken to improve product- or industry-specific access to the Japanese market; experience with particular government policies or practices that should be addressed by the negotiations; comments on export priorities or import sensitivities; customs and trade facilitation issues that the trade discussions should address; and the economic costs and benefits to U.S. interests on the removal or reduction of existing trade barriers, including tariffs.

While USTR will issue specific negotiating objectives at least 30 days before the trade discussions begin, the agency has already identified several general priorities. These include addressing the “underperforming” nature of Japan as an important U.S. export market, tackling the tariff and non-tariff barriers for automobiles, agriculture, and services that has led to “chronic U.S. trade imbalances,” and finding ways to expand trade and investment between the two countries.

If you are interested in developing comments or appearing at the hearing, please contact Kelley Drye’s International Trade practice.