Japan blocking access to auto market with nontariff trade barriers, Trump says in report


U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused Japan of employing “a variety of nontariff barriers” against American automobiles, effectively urging Tokyo to further liberalize its auto market.

Japan imposes no tariffs on imported cars.

“The United States has expressed strong concerns with the overall lack of access to Japan’s automotive market for U.S. automotive companies,” Trump said in a report submitted to Congress.

“A variety of nontariff barriers impede access to Japan’s automotive market, and overall sales of U.S.-made vehicles and automotive parts in Japan remain low,” said the Economic Report of the President.

The report, the first of its kind under the Trump administration, also criticized China and South Korea as well for erecting nontariff barriers to American automobiles.

The report suggests Washington will step up calls on Tokyo during high-level economic talks to address the Trump administration’s concerns over U.S. access to Japan’s automobile market.

Launched last year, the bilateral dialogue is led by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

In the second round of the dialogue last October in Washington, Aso and Pence agreed that Japan will streamline noise and emissions-testing procedures for U.S. automobile exports.

Wednesday’s report cited “unique” safety standards, “hindrances” to the development of distribution and service networks, and an “insufficient” level of transparency, among other Japanese nontariff barriers against American automobiles.

“These barriers have had the long-term effect of excluding and disadvantaging U.S. manufacturers in the Japanese market,” it said.

American producers face “higher barriers” to selling their products abroad than competitors do selling products in the United States, the report said.

Trump “is seeking to break down barriers to United States exports and crack down on unfair trade practices,” it said.

Trump has criticized Japan’s trade practices. “We want fair and open trade. But right now, our trade with Japan is not fair and it’s not open,” he said during a visit to Tokyo last November.

Trump cited automobiles as an example of “not free” and “not reciprocal” trade between the two countries.