U.S. signs limited deal with Japan on ag, digital trade

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan signed a limited trade agreement Monday, a deal that would win back benefits American farmers lost when President Donald Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office.

U.S. farmers have been operating at a disadvantage in Japan since Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which had been negotiated by the Obama administration. The other 11 Pacific Rim countries, including big farm producers such as New Zealand and Canada, went ahead without the United States and were enjoying preferential treatment in Japan.

“This is a huge victory for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. And that’s very important to me,” Trump said in a signing ceremony at the White House.

But Tami Overby, senior director on Asia and trade issues at the McLarty Associates consultancy, said America’s competitors in agriculture got a two-year head start and used it to sign multi-year contracts in Japan to sell farm products. “We’re going to have to thrash back and fight for lost market share,” she said.

The deal comes at a time when other parts of the Trump administration’s trade agenda have stalled. The United States has been locked in a costly trade war with China for more than a year — though negotiators are scheduled to resume talks in Washington Thursday. Congress has yet to approve a North American trade deal Trump’s trade team negotiated last year with Canada and Mexico.

While rewarding American farmers, the new U.S.-Japan mini-deal does not resolve differences over trade in autos. Trump has said the two countries continue to work on a more comprehensive agreement.

Trump has threatened to impose import taxes on foreign autos, claiming they pose a threat to U.S. national security. At the UN general assembly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that Trump had assured him that a previous agreement to spare Japan from new auto tariffs still stood.

But Japanese automakers were disappointed that the United States kept existing auto tariffs at 2.5%.

The limited trade pact also includes market-opening commitments on $40 billion worth of digital trade between the two countries.

Monday’s Japan deal, Overby said, “is important, but it’s still not the whole enchilada.” U.S. business groups are holding out for a broader deal that would give American companies more access to Japan in businesses such as insurance and pharmaceuticals.

Trump has long complained about America’s large trade deficit with Japan, which came to $58 billion last year. Japan is the world’s third-biggest economy behind the United States and China.

News of a U.S. pact with Japan might sound familiar. The deal was first announced at the August Group of 7 summit in Biarritz, France. At the UN gathering last month, the two countries signed an agreement-in-principle.

Just Posted

Repeat rent-dodger dubbed ‘professional squatter’ prompts call for reform

HALIFAX — A Halifax coffee shop owner who says he tried for… Continue reading

Alberta introduces legislation allowing access to partner’s criminal records

EDMONTON — Alberta is introducing legislation first developed in Britain that allows… Continue reading

Pilot projects to improve communication links between RCMP and community peace officers underway

Communciations gaps have been raised as safety concern by rural municipalities

Broncos families head to Alberta legislature to fight for trucking changes

EDMONTON — Alberta families affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash say… Continue reading

Cannabis edibles and vaping are on the way

Red Deer stores welcome opportunity to educate

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

Repeat rent-dodger dubbed ‘professional squatter’ prompts call for reform

HALIFAX — A Halifax coffee shop owner who says he tried for… Continue reading

Beef recall expands as Toronto slaughterhouse co-operates with food watchdog

A large recall of raw beef and veal products continued to expand… Continue reading

Alberta introduces legislation allowing access to partner’s criminal records

EDMONTON — Alberta is introducing legislation first developed in Britain that allows… Continue reading

A&W reports slower sales growth while net income falls short of expectations

VANCOUVER — A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund saw sales growth slip in… Continue reading

Broncos families head to Alberta legislature to fight for trucking changes

EDMONTON — Alberta families affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash say… Continue reading

Gardening: Keep your trees free from snow

Plants react differently to late snowfalls in the spring and early ones… Continue reading

2 writers claim they deserve credit on Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’

NEW YORK — There’s a debate about the truth behind Lizzo’s “Truth… Continue reading

Most Read