The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative posted the objectives for upcoming bilateral trade agreement talks on Friday, after officially notifying Congress on Oct. 16 of its intent to enter negotiations. The congressional notification began a 90-day statutory consultation period before negotiations can officially start.
Customs objectives also call for new disciplines on the timing of release, automation and use of guarantees and ensuring that, to the greatest extent possible, shipments are released immediately after determining compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Further, USTR will pursue provisions to cover automation of import, export and transit processes; reduced shipment forms, documents and formalities; and advance rulings regarding treatment that will be accorded to a good at the time of importation.
Reducing the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, increasing transparency in import and export licensing procedures and disciplining import and export monopolies to prevent trade distortions are also among the objectives.
The U.S. trade deficit in goods with Japan last year was $68.9 billion, remaining steady from 2016, USTR said.
For industrial goods, the Trump administration seeks to expand market access for remanufactured goods exports to Japan by ensuring they aren’t classified as used goods that are restricted or banned, secure duty-free access for U.S. textile and apparel products and take into account “U.S. import sensitivities,” according to the objectives.
A big irritant for the U.S. automotive sector, Japanese non-tariff barriers for foreign automobiles, should be addressed, and auto provisions should provide for more U.S. auto production, USTR said.
The U.S. will seek Japanese commitments for greater regulatory compatibility to facilitate U.S. exports of automobiles, chemicals, medical devices and other types of goods, according to the objectives.
On trade remedies, the U.S. wants to promote bilateral cooperation, including information sharing that would improve the ability of administrators to effectively monitor and address violations of trade remedies, the objectives say.
While the Japan negotiating objectives largely mirror NAFTA renegotiation objectives released by USTR in November 2017, the Japan objectives omit some of the more ambitious goals in areas including trade remedies and investment.
For instance, the Japan document deletes language calling for exclusion of state enterprises as part of domestic industry in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings, as well as language calling for investment dispute procedures that protect U.S. sovereignty and maintain the strength of U.S. domestic industries.