The United States and Japan are working on a new trade agreement

The United States and Japan are working on a new trade agreement

Photo: ANP

The United States and Japan are working to form a new trade agreement. The countries want to strengthen their alliance, but they also want to work together in solving problems with the “third countries”. The latter is a clear reference to China.

The first in a series of meetings between the two governments will take place early next year. A statement issued by a US trade delegation visiting Tokyo said the talks would also cover topics such as trade, labour, the environment and digitalization.

The statement came after a meeting between US Trade Envoy Catherine Taye and Japanese Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda. Among other things, the two spoke of global overcapacity in steel and aluminum, which Tai says is largely caused by China.

Japan urged the United States to join the CPTPP Free Trade Agreement with mainly Pacific countries as participants. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States’ participation in the agreement after taking office. Since then, China has applied to join the agreement. CPTPP was once promoted by the United States as a way to isolate Beijing and counterbalance the growing Chinese presence in the region.

The Biden administration said it would work on a new “economic framework” for the region. Details have not yet been worked out. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said earlier this week that the United States will not rejoin the CPTPP anytime soon.

Moreover, talks between the two parties appear to revolve around import duties on steel and aluminum that were previously imposed by the United States. Biden has previously taken steps to improve relations with allies, including by easing EU tariffs.

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