Negotiators have tried to circumvent the request „essentially all“ by viewing the agreement as step one on the road to a possible free trade agreement, but skeptics doubt that President Trump is willing to bring down tariffs on jobs such as cars, which would be essential as part of a broader deal. Instead, limited agreements like this could become the norm under his government. CFR`s Jennifer Hillman writes, „On the one hand, I`m not going to hold my breath and wait for a bigger deal.“ The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) came into force on January 1, 2020. In that agreement, Japan committed to grant the United States significant market access by phasing in most tariffs, implementing significant tariff reductions or allowing a certain volume of imports at a lower price. Once the USJTA is fully implemented, nearly 90% of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will be duty-free or preferential tariff access. The full text of the agreement and fact sheets are available on the website of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Nevertheless, the agreement could be reviewed on other fronts. The World Trade Organization (WTO) only allows bilateral trade agreements that cover „essentially“ the whole of trade, a somewhat vague rule that the agreement does not respect. The logic behind this requirement is that it allows countries to liberalize trade through bilateral agreements without violating the WTO`s most advanced principle. Businesses with Japan and U.S. trade are invited to review the text of the agreements and understand the potential benefits.
To this end, companies can consider immediate measures: 15. U.S. Customs and Border Services, CSMS #41149692, U.S.-Japan Trade Agreements: Information on Applications for Preferential Treatment. www.cbp.gov/trade/free-trade-agreements/japan. Japan has requested ratification by submitting the agreements to its bicameral legislation, the National Parliament. On November 19, 2019, the lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives, voted on both agreements. On 4 December 2019, the Landtag approved the agreements after adoption by the Council, the House of Lords of the Landtag. In the absence of congressional approval in the United States, President Trump signed the agreements himself on December 26, 2019.
Both agreements came into force on January 1, 2020. The United States and Japan have agreed on a trade deal, but critics say the deal is not as good as it has replaced.