(7 Oct 2019) The United States and Japan signed a limited trade agreement Monday, a deal that would win back benefits American farmers lost when President Donald Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office.
U.S. farmers have been operating at a disadvantage in Japan since Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which had been negotiated by the Obama administration.
The other 11 Pacific Rim countries, including big farm producers such as New Zealand and Canada, went ahead without the United States and were enjoying preferential treatment in Japan.
Speaking before the signing at the White House, Tump said the deal “is a huge victory for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers.” Trump called it a “game changer” for US farmers and ranchers.
While rewarding American farmers, the new U.S.-Japan mini-deal does not resolve differences over trade in autos. Trump has said the two countries continue to work on a more comprehensive agreement.
Trump has threatened to impose import taxes on foreign autos, claiming they pose a threat to U.S. national security. At the UN general assembly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that Trump had assured him that a previous agreement to spare Japan from new auto tariffs still stood.
But Japanese automakers were disappointed that the United States kept existing auto tariffs at 2.5%.
The limited trade pact also includes market-opening commitments on $40 billion worth of digital trade between the two countries.
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