Politics

Trump says US and Japan have reached an initial trade agreement

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump says the U.S. and Japan have taken initial steps in reaching a trade agreement.
  • The first stage of the deal will open markets up to $7 billion in U.S. products, he says.
  • Trump says the document the leaders signed outlined "the significant steps we're taking toward a fair and reciprocal trade agreement."
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Japan and US sign trade deal

The United States and Japan outlined initial details of a trade deal Wednesday as they to iron out a broader agreement.

The first stage of the accord will open markets up to about $7 billion in U.S. agricultural products, President Donald Trump said at a signing ceremony with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the United Nations. Japan will also reduce tariffs on products such as beef and pork, and eliminate tariffs on goods such as almonds, blueberries and broccoli.

Trump added that the two nations made commitments for $40 billion worth of digital trade. It would bar customs duties on products such as videos, music and e-books, among other provisions.

US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a meeting on trade in New York, September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Trump said the document the leaders signed outlined "the significant steps we're taking toward a fair and reciprocal trade agreement."

In a joint statement later Wednesday, Japan and the U.S. said they wanted to finish their trade talks within about four months, according to Reuters. They said that, "while faithfully implementing these agreements, both nations will refrain from taking measures against the spirit of these agreements and this joint statement." 

The developing pact comes as Trump tries to mitigate damage from his efforts to crack down on what he calls unfair global trade practices. He has in particular tried to boost American farmers as a lingering trade war with China hits the U.S. agricultural industry.

Trump's threatened tariffs on Japanese autos have complicated the push for a new trade deal. Japan sent $51 billion in vehicles to the U.S. in 2018, the Asian nation's largest export category.

Japan was America's fourth-largest goods trading partner last year.

In a statement after the signing ceremony, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — the largest business federation in the country — said developing agreement "will spur economic growth and boost sales on both sides of the Pacific."

"However, it's not enough," the group added. "The Chamber strongly urges the administration to hold fast to its commitment to achieve a comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement with Japan that addresses the full range of our trade priorities, including services, intellectual property protection, and regulatory barriers to trade."