NWSA also called for any new trade agreement to eliminate steel and aluminum tariffs and avert future implementation of automotive import tariffs, as $382 million in imported steel and aluminum traveled from Japan through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) and the seaports of Seattle and Tacoma, “while $3.9 billion in vehicles and parts were imported from Japan,” according to the alliance.
The Industrial Truck Association (ITA), which represents forklift manufacturers based in the U.S., Japan, China, Europe and other areas, wrote in support of a U.S.-Japan trade agreement, noting National Association of Manufacturers statistics indicating Japan is the fourth largest export market for U.S. manufactured goods, with exports totaling $53.15 billion last year.
“International trade issues loom especially large today as governments’ desires to boost domestic employment compete with the concern that national protectionist policies will ultimately constrict rather than expand worldwide production,” the ITA said.
Since 2009, the U.S. and Japan have maintained zero tariffs on each other’s forklift exports and should continue the free market access, ITA said.
SEMI, a global industry association representing more than 2,100 members involved in the technology and business of the electronics manufacturing supply chain, outlined 10 negotiating objectives for USTR to pursue with Japan, including simplification and harmonization of customs processes, removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on semiconductor trade, and robust intellectual property safeguards and significant penalties for violators of IP rights.
More than 30 years after a dispute between the U.S. and Japan on semiconductor trade resulted in a 1986 agreement to ensure, among other things, fair market share in Japan for U.S.-made semiconductors, the two countries account for the vast majority of global market share.
SEMI said the U.S. currently holds more than 40 percent of global market share, and Japan holds more than 30 percent.
The association said it would support a “high-standard trade agreement” between the U.S. and Japan that spurs further growth for the semiconductor industry and each country’s economy.
But not all organizations voiced resounding support favor for a U.S.-Japan trade pact.
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture Implement Workers of America (UAW) said trade with Japan has been an “unambiguous failure” for American workers, including efforts to open Japan’s auto market to foreign competition.
The labor union said an even playing field is made less likely because Japan maintains an automotive tariff of zero and insulates its domestic auto manufacturers through non-tariff barriers, such as currency manipulation, discriminatory taxation, burdensome certification procedures for auto imports and several safety, noise and pollution standards that don’t conform to international standards.
If the U.S. includes automobiles in trade negotiations, USTR should undertake several efforts, including establishment of an import quota for Japanese vehicles; requiring Japan to open its auto market before the U.S. eliminates tariffs; requiring strong labor standards; outlining enforcement measures against currency manipulation; strong rules of origin, using the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a basis; carved-out protections for next-generation auto components; full maintenance of “Buy American” policies; and omission of any investor-state dispute settlement provisions.
“The UAW is deeply concerned about the potential negative consequences on American workers and our communities if the administration goes through in negotiating a trade deal with Japan,” the union said. “We appreciate this opportunity to present our concerns and look forward to working with USTR.”