The United States urged Japan on Tuesday to open its agricultural and automotive markets further to narrow the trade imbalance between the two countries.
“The United States continues to engage closely with the Japanese government to urge removal of a broad range of barriers to U.S. exports,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in an annual report detailing foreign trade barriers.
Referring to the Japan-U.S. trade agreement that took effect in January, the report said that U.S. rice and some fresh foods including fruits are not receiving preferential treatment from Japan.
“As agreed by our leaders, the two countries intend to enter into further negotiations on customs duties and other restrictions on trade, barriers to trade in services and investment, and other issues,” the National Trade Estimate report said.
“Japan’s highly regulated and nontransparent importation and distribution system for rice limits the ability of U.S. exporters to have meaningful access to Japan’s consumers.”
“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,” the report said, referring to a sector that accounts for about 80 percent of the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.
These nontariff barriers include unique standards and testing protocols and hindrances to the development of distribution and service networks, the report said.
The report also said the United States remains concerned over “unequal conditions of competition” between Japan Post Holdings Co. and international express delivery suppliers, as well as “a nontransparent regulatory environment” that gives advantages to Japanese insurance cooperatives over their rivals.