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U.S. will promise not to hike tariffs on Japanese autos, report says

Bloomberg

Japan and the United States are working toward a joint leaders’ statement that would include a U.S. promise not to hike tariffs or introduce quotas on Japanese cars, the daily Tokyo Shimbun reported Monday.

The statement is set to be issued after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York next week, the newspaper said.

The two leaders are also expected to sign a broader bilateral trade agreement at the meeting, according to the report.

The threat of punitive tariffs on Japan’s lucrative car industry prompted Abe to agree to bilateral trade talks last year. Trump said last month he wasn’t planning on hiking tariffs on Japan’s autos for the moment, but he didn’t rule out such a move in the future.

Japan will reduce or abolish tariffs on U.S. beef, pork and wheat in line with previous agreements under the regional trade partnership rejected by Trump in 2017, the Tokyo Shimbun reported. The new bilateral trade deal is set to be finalized at the Cabinet level before the summit, the newspaper said.

But the tariff-free quota allowed for imports of U.S. rice to Japan will be substantially smaller than the 70,000 tons agreed under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to reports by both the Tokyo Shimbun and the Mainichi Shimbun.

Japanese tariffs on U.S. wine will be reduced to zero in seven years, the Tokyo Shimbun added, helping it to compete with rivals such as Australia and the European Union, with which Japan already has trade agreements.