For all his reputation for stirring trade wars as a mechanism to get what he wants, Mr Trump’s administration has actually been able to agree a trade deal with another country – perhaps another way is possible! The nation in question is Japan, the nation with the third largest economy in the world.
The accord relates to a range of agricultural and digital products, but seems to come with a promise that a threatened 25% tariff on Japanese car exports to the USA will not be applied.
The accord is the fruit of discussions which have been taking place all year and will allow approximately 90% of Americas agricultural exports to Japan to be either free of tariffs or to come in under preferential access tariffs. The US produce includes fresh and frozen beef and pork which see a reduced tariff whilst some nuts, fruit and vegetables will become tariff-free. Japan will see the reduction or removal of tariffs on its cut flower, green tea and soy sauce exports to the USA worth some $40 million. Plainly, what is in it for Japan is the pledge not to raise tariffs on the something like $40 billion exports of cars to the USA.
The other element of the deal sees digital products (videos, music and e-books) being free of any tariffs and ensures that data can be transferred freely between the two nations.
Japan and the USA are hoping for a more comprehensive trade accord in the future (the USA withdrew from talks over a trans-pacific free trade area under the Trump administration, of course).
Speaking of the present accord, the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe, sounded particularly upbeat, claiming it would have a: "very wonderful, positive impact on the global economy". On the subject of the potential tariffs on Japanese car exports, he said: "Between President Trump and I, myself, this has been firmly confirmed that no further, additional tariffs will imposed."