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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 8 - 14  > 1st round of FFR trade talks ends, Japan should rebuff unfair demands from US
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2018 August 8 - 14 [ECONOMY]
editorial 

1st round of FFR trade talks ends, Japan should rebuff unfair demands from US

August 14, 2018

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The first round of the Japan-U.S. ministerial trade negotiations ended on August 11, Japan time. In the so-called "free fair reciprocal (FFR)" talks, decided to be set up during the Abe-Trump summit meeting in April, Motegi Toshimitsu, minister in charge of economic revitalization, negotiated with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The details of their discussions are unknown, but the U.S. Trump administration will undoubtedly increase its pressure by using various occasions such as a Japan-U.S. summit meeting in September in a quest for "results" with U.S. midterm elections slated for November in mind.

Not joining the multilateral trade framework Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the Trump administration has been pressing its counterparts for concessions in bilateral deals. It is because President Trump can no longer ignore criticism being stirred up at home against the TPP whose top priority is to ensure multinational companies' profits. In addition, he wants to garner support from the business world and also from farm producers. To achieve this, he has raised tariffs on automobiles and aluminum goods, causing trade friction with China, European nations, and Japan.

Trump's trade policy has the following traits: yield tangible results in one-on-one talks; win concessions by making "deals" after threatening negotiating partners with punitive duties and trade restrictions.

There is some concern that the Trump administration may slap Japan with auto tariffs to force further concessions by Japan in the agricultural field. It is necessary to closely watch future bilateral talks and the Abe government's response.
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