US, Japan ink trade agreements on farm, digital exports

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 08 2019 06:51 AM

US, Japan ink trade agreements on farm, digital exports 1
US President Donald Trump adjusts the microphone for Japan's ambassador to the United States Shinsuke Sugiyama during a formal signing ceremony for the US-Japan Trade Agreement at the White House in Washington, October 7, 2019. Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump on Monday hailed a banner day for American farmers, announcing 2 trade agreements with Japan that he said would deepen economic ties in agriculture and digital commerce.

The trade deals, which were formally unveiled last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, come as Trump renews far more fraught negotiations later this week with China.

Trump's trade wars have since last year profoundly disrupted trade ties for US farmers, who have borne the brunt of China's retaliation.

US soybean exports to China have risen in recent weeks, however.

"These deals are a tremendous victory for both our nations," Trump said Monday of the new US-Japan agreements. 

"We love our farmers and our ranchers. We have been working hard on this."

Under the agreement, Japan will cut tariffs for $7 billion in US farm exports, including beef and pork, while reducing mark-ups on purchases of American wheat and barley.

In return, Washington has agreed to cut US tariffs on $40 million in Japanese agricultural goods and to ease tariff rate quotas on the country's beef, allowing Japan to compete for a greater share of the US market.

In a separate agreement, US and Japanese officials have also agreed to eliminate duties on digital products like videos, music and ebooks as well as to ensure cross-border that data transfers are barrier-free.

Japanese officials also said last month that Washington had promised not to impose tariffs on Japanese auto exports, a threat Trump has held over major trading partners since last year.

The White House announced earlier Monday that the US-China trade talks were due to resume on Thursday, when Beijing's top trade envoy Liu He is due to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

© Agence France-Presse