Japan and the United States have completed negotiations on a new trade agreement between the two countries, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference following a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, ONA reports citing Sputnik.
"Today, we fully completed the negotiations. We would like to announce the content [of the agreement] shortly after it is confirmed at a meeting between the leaders [of Japan and the United States]," Motegi said on Monday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in New York on Monday and is expected to give a speech at the UN General Assembly session on Tuesday. Abe's bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump is scheduled for Wednesday.
The US-Japan trade talks were triggered by Washington's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in 2017 and Trump's announced course on signing bilateral trade deals with other states. Without the United States' participation in the TPP deal, US farmers do not benefit from the same tariff exemptions as those countries that supported and signed a new iteration of the trade agreement, renamed to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump sought a bilateral trade agreement with Tokyo that would allow the United States to boost its agricultural exports to Japan. Tokyo, in turn, wanted to prevent Trump from slamming import duties on Japanese cars and auto parts, which are some of the most important export products for the Asian country.
In late August, Lighthizer announced that Tokyo and Washington had reached a trade agreement. According to him, a new document may be signed at the end of September. The intention to sign the agreement was also confirmed by Abe. The White House, in particular, said in a statement that the US-Japan trade deal would primarily focus on the agricultural and industrial sectors.
According to media reports, as part of the new agreement, Japan will begin the phased lifting of import restrictions on US wines within 5-7 years. In addition, the Japanese government also intends to reduce import tariffs on US beef by 2033 to 9 percent from the current 38.5 percent.
At the same time, according to Japanese media, the United States does not intend to remove import duties on Japanese cars, and is also unlikely to lift restrictions on spare parts, which was one of the most important priorities for Tokyo in the negotiations.