U.S., Japan reach initial trade agreement, Trump says

President Donald Trump notified Congress Monday that he plans to enter into a trade agreement with Japan after negotiating with the Asian ally for nearly a year.

President Donald J.Trump (L) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 summit in Osaka in June. Trump informed Congress Monday that he plans to sign a trade agreement with Japan. Photo by Michael Klimentyev

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could sign the trade deal when Abe travels to New York later this month for the United Nations General Assembly.

“I am pleased to report that my administration has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan and I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks,” Trump said in a statement posted by the White House.

“My administration looks forward to continued collaboration with the Congress on further negotiations with Japan to achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Japan,” the statement continued.


Trump added that he will also sign an executive agreement with Japan addressing digital trade.

The president said during August’s G7 Summit in France that the U.S. had a deal done in principle, after working on a “very big transaction” with Japan involving agriculture and e-commerce. The deal included that Japan purchase hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. corn surplus.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had said the preliminary agreement addressed industrial tariffs, agriculture and digital trade, but doesn’t end 2.5 percent tariffs on Japanese vehicles or major auto parts.


“There are a series of industrial tariffs that are being reduced,” Lighthizer said in August. “Auto tariffs are not in that group.”

The proposed deal would end talk of Trump imposing a 25 percent tariff on Japan’s auto and auto parts exports to the United States.

ByClyde Hughes