In this file:


·         US and Japan to begin trade talks today

·         As China Trade War Cools, Japan Braces for Its Clash With Trump



US and Japan to begin trade talks today


By Meghan Grebner, Brownfield

April 15, 2019


Preliminary trade negotiations between the US and Japan are scheduled to begin today.


Japan is the largest value market for US beef and pork and US Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom says rapid progress on these talks is extremely important.  “Even though we are setting records today on beef into Japan, we are at a severe disadvantage because we are not part of the CPTPP,” he says.  “With the most recent decrease in duties for the CPTPP countries being April 1st – each we that we go we will become more of a disadvantrage.”


Japan imposes an import duty of 38.5 percent on US beef, while the rate for countries that are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is 26.6 percent and is set to decline to 9 percent over the next 14 years.


In addition to the CPTPP, a new economic partnership between Japan and the European Union (EU) is putting US pork at an even greater disadvantage.  “Europe is our largest competitor in Japan,” he says.  “We have two categories in particular that are already seeing dramatic impacts today,” he says.  “One is seasoned ground pork and we’re already seeing our shares erode.  The other area is the pork processed meats area.”


Seasoned ground pork...





As China Trade War Cools, Japan Braces for Its Clash With Trump


    Negotiators sit down for opening talks in Washington next week

    Abe doesn’t want to give U.S. better deal than Europe, Asia


By Isabel Reynolds, Bloomberg

April 11, 2019


Japan is finally stepping into the ring for a fight it had managed to dodge for more than two years: Bilateral trade talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.


The world’s third-biggest economy has a lot at stake in the talks, which are expected to start next week in Washington just as the U.S.’s negotiations with China appear to be winding down. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is desperate to avoid tariffs or quotas on lucrative auto exports, while Trump wants to crack open Japan’s agricultural market and reduce a $60 billion trade deficit.


Abe has poured energy into courting Trump to maintain a strategic relationship that secures his country against potential threats from North Korea and China. But that doesn’t mean Japan will roll over on trade: Abe’s government is determined to avoid giving the U.S. a better two-way deal than the multilateral pacts he’s negotiated with Europe and Pacific Rim nations.


“It’s the U.S. who asked for these bilateral negotiations,” said Ichiro Fujisaki, a former Japanese ambassador to the U.S., who’s now president of the Nakasone Peace Institute. “So, it’s the U.S. who should put to us what they want, rather than us offering this and that before being asked.”


The talks add to worries among investors as Trump turns his gaze from China to trade grudges elsewhere. The U.S. leader, who will be judged on his success in rebalancing America’s trade relationships in next year’s presidential campaign, has signaled a willingness to continue market-disrupting tariff threats despite growing economic concerns.


Abe only agreed to bilateral talks after Trump hit Japan’s steel and aluminum exports with punitive tariffs last year and later threatened to impose levies of as much as 25 percent on all imported cars, including those made in Japan. Trump faces a decision in May on how to proceed with the auto tariffs, although White House officials have been telling their European counterparts a delay is likely.


“Japan is now negotiating,” Trump told reporters last month. “They haven’t wanted to negotiate for many years, but now they’re negotiating. It’s called ‘tariffs.’ Tariffs are a very, very great way of getting people to the table.”


Still, Abe’s economy minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, has been able to observe the Trump administration’s previous battles with South Korea, Canada, Mexico and China before sitting down next week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. In each fight, the U.S. adopted extreme positions that threatened to upend economic ties only to drift toward more modest changes.


Abe has also fortified Japan’s position by sealing trade pacts with the European Union and 10 fellow other partners jilted by Trump when he abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership shortly after taking office. Those deals have left U.S. farmers, including beef and pork producers, at risk of losing their 22 percent share of Japan’s food import market to rivals with lower tariffs.


“For Japan, the government has no reason to hasten, to quickly wrap up the negotiations,” said Junji Nakagawa, a professor who researches trade issues at Chuogakuin University in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo...


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