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White House unveils goals for Japan trade talks

22 December, 2018 3:38 AM
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White House unveils goals for Japan trade talks

The United States is aiming to secure duty-free market access for American industrial products and reduce or eliminate tariffs for US agricultural goods.

The White House on December 21 laid out objectives for trade talks with Japan, setting the clock for them to begin as early as January 20, as the administration seeks to slash the United States' $69 billion trade deficit with the world's third-biggest economy.

According to the document, the United States is aiming to secure duty-free market access for American industrial products and reduce or eliminate tariffs for US agricultural goods. It may want to negotiate the deal in stages.

Washington is also seeking more equitable trade in the motor vehicle sector and will try to "ensure that Japan avoids manipulating exchange rates in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage," the document said.

October comments by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin alluding to such a provision sparked concern in Japan that it might give Washington the right to label as currency manipulation any future foreign exchange market interventions by Tokyo.

At a hearing this month on US negotiating objectives for the trade talks, the United Auto Workers union called on the Trump administration to demand strict quotas on Japanese vehicles and parts, with any increases based on the growth of US automotive exports to Japan.

In a statement, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said he supported opening markets for US goods, but criticized the objectives, saying they lacked detail and contained a "completely inadequate" approach to trade enforcement.

Source: moneycontrol.com

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