Japan Trade Agreement Objectives Released

The Office of the United States Trade Representative released its negotiating objectives on December 21, 2018 for a possible trade agreement between the United States and Japan.  Formal discussions with Japan can begin as early as 30 days after the issuance of the negotiating objectives, as provided under the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.  The USTR Summary states, “Our aim in negotiations with Japan is to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade in a manner consistent with the objectives that Congress has set out in section 102 of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. We are committed to working closely with Congress, including on matters of scope, and to following the requirements of the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act and the guidelines issued pursuant to section 104(a)(3) of that Act. Further, we recognize that effective implementation and enforcement of the commitments made by our trading partners under our trade agreements are vital to the success of those agreements, and we will seek provisions that ensure effective implementation and enforcement.”

Some objectives include, but are not limited to:

  • Improve the U.S. trade balance and reduce the trade deficit with Japan.
  • Secure comprehensive market access for industrial and agricultural goods in Japan by reducing and/or eliminating duties and strengthen disciplines to address non-tariff barriers that constrain U.S. exports.
  • Increase transparency in import and export licensing procedures.
  • Secure commitments with respect to greater regulatory compatibility to facilitate U.S. exports in key goods sectors, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, information and communication technology equipment, motor vehicles, and chemicals, and reduce burdens associated with unnecessary differences in regulation, including through regulatory cooperation where appropriate.
  • Provide for enforceable and robust Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures commitments that build upon WTO rights and obligations
  • Improve trade facilitation including to provide for automation of import, export, and transit processes, including through supply
    chain integration; reduced import, export, and transit forms, documents, and formalities; enhanced harmonization of customs data requirements; and advance rulings regarding the treatment that will be provided to a good at the time of importation.

Other objectives included in the summary touch on technical barriers to trade, regulatory practices, administration, trade in services, digital trade and cross-border data flows, investment, intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, competition policy, labor, state-owned enterprises/small- and medium- sized enterprises, environment, anti-corruption, trade remedies, government procurement, dispute settlement, general provisions, and currency.  To read the full summary, click here.

Japan and the United States originally entered into trade talks in September 2018.

U.S. Japan Trade Agreement

U.S.-Japan Trade Facts

U.S. goods and services trade with Japan totaled an estimated $283.6 billion in 2017. Exports were $114.0 billion; imports were $169.5 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Japan was $55.5 billion in 2017.

Japan is currently our 4th largest goods trading partner with $204.1 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2017. Goods exports totaled $67.6 billion; goods imports totaled $136.5 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan was $68.9 billion in 2017.

Trade in services with Japan (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $79.5 billion in 2017. Services exports were $46.4 billion; services imports were $33.1 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with Japan was $13.4 billion in 2017.

Trade facts gathered from United States Trade Representative.