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U.S. and Japan to Consider Bilateral Trade Agreement


Following the precipitous withdrawal of the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement immediately following initiation of the present Administration, trade negotiations between Japan and the U.S. have been in limbo. After a delay of almost two years Prime Minister Abe has agreed to bilateral trade negotiations.


At issue is the negative trade balance of $70 billion annually coupled with restrictions on importation of U.S. agricultural products to protect the domestic industry in Japan. One-third of Japan’s 4.7 million exports of automobiles are shipped to the U.S. contributing a high proportion of the negative trade balance. Threatened retaliatory tariffs on U.S. automobiles imported into Japan have been deferred until conclusion of bilateral trade discussions.


It is evident that Japan will be an important ally in any trade or diplomatic action taken against China.  Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement created an advantage for China with respect to intra-Asian trade evidently to the detriment of U.S. commercial interests