Japan counters away U.S. complaint on autos

by SpeedLux
Tokyo, Japan

Japan turned down U.S. demands for more access to Japan’s automobile market on Friday, casting doubt over whether it can prevent friction over vehicles and agriculture imports at high level bilateral talks on financial relations next month.

The joint financial discussion, to be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, might re-write ties in between the two countries.

“We do not enforce import tariffs on vehicles, and we do not impose any non-tariff barriers,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga informed press reporters.

“Our position is that Japan’s automobile market is already open. This is something that will be settled in our bilateral discussion.”

Suga released the rebuff after the U.S. government sent a statement to the World Trade Organization on Wednesday stating “a range of non-tariff barriers restrain access to Japan’s vehicle market.”

The U.S. government likewise stated Japan’s farming sector remains protected by significant barriers, offering the clearest sign yet of where battle lines will be drawn in the future bilateral talks.

In 2015 the United States government sent a comparable statement to the WTO as part of a routine evaluation of Japan’s trade policies, however this year’s statement could bring more weight given the new U.S. administration’s focus on renegotiating trade offers.

Japanese authorities have suggested that they would prefer the talks focused on facilities, foreign direct investment and energy to prevent more tough problems like autos and agriculture.

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