[Ip-health] New York Times Report- US Trade Deals With Japan and India

runjun runjundutta at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 09:25:02 PDT 2019


Trump Races for Trade Deals With Japan and India as China Fight Persists

Url:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/17/us/politics/trump-japan-india-trade.html



WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is racing to announce limited trade
deals with Japan and India before the end of the month, as President Trump
tries to score some wins amid a protracted trade fight with China.


The “minideals” are aimed at helping Mr. Trump overcome concerns about his
trade approach before the 2020 election and prove to voters that he is
delivering on a key promise to negotiate bilateral trade deals in America’s
favor. Mr. Trump also wants to calm the concerns of struggling farmers, who
have been largely cut off from foreign markets like China in retaliation
for the president’s trade war.


Any agreements could be announced in the coming days. Mr. Trump will join
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at a rally on Sunday in Houston and
will appear alongside Mr. Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan next
week at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.


Unlike traditional trade pacts, the agreements Mr. Trump’s advisers are
drafting are likely to be confined to a few sectors or products. In keeping
with Mr. Trump’s more transactional approach to trade, his negotiators have
focused on a few key interests — like those of farmers — while setting the
bulk of contentious issues aside.



With Japan, the Trump administration has been pressing for American
agricultural products to gain some of the same access to its markets that
would have happened under the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Mr.
Trump withdrew the United States from that agreement within days of taking
office.


The administration is also pressing India to provide more access for
farmers to sell products like pork, and to reduce tariffs on electronics.


The push to secure limited deals comes as the administration struggles to
notch any big wins on trade. So far, the White House has made modest
changes to a trade agreement with South Korea, allowing the United States
to export more automobiles to that country. And while the administration
negotiated a substantial update to the North American Free Trade Agreement,
the deal has yet to be approved by Congress.


Mr. Trump’s signature trade fight with China is also proceeding in fits and
starts, and substantial differences remain before a deal can be reached.
Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods and
plans to impose levies on nearly all Chinese imports by the end of the
year. The tariffs have pushed China to the negotiating table, but the two
governments have clashed over the changes that the administration is
seeking to China’s economic practices, and over how many American farm
products the Chinese might buy and whether Mr. Trump will scale back his
tariffs.


Tensions between China and the United States have eased somewhat in recent
weeks, and dozens of Chinese government officials are expected to arrive in
Washington this week for negotiations on Thursday and Friday, to pave the
way for a meeting of higher-level officials in early October.



But Mr. Trump has delighted in being unpredictable in trade negotiations,
and it is unclear when or if a deal will be reached.


“I think there’ll be a deal maybe soon, maybe before the election, or one
day after the election,” Mr. Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as
he flew to Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday. “And if it’s after the
election, it’ll be a deal like you’ve never seen, it’ll be the greatest
deal ever and China knows that.”


As Mr. Trump has waged trade fights with China and other countries,
governments like Japan, Canada, the European Union and Australia have moved
ahead with free trade deals that exclude the United States, putting
American companies at a competitive disadvantage.


That includes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which lowered Japanese tariffs
on a wide range of agricultural goods, including beef and dairy. Since Mr.
Trump withdrew from the deal, Japan has ratified the agreement with the
remaining 10 other members, giving products from Australia, New Zealand,
Canada and Mexico better access to Japan than American producers have.

Details of Mr. Trump’s agreement with Japan have not been announced. But
people familiar with the negotiations say the United States has secured
more access for products like beef, pork, wheat and wine. In return, the
United States will drop its tariffs for Japanese industrial goods, like
machinery. Japan is seeking written assurances that Mr. Trump will not put
tariffs on Japanese cars, but it is unclear whether the administration will
agree.


Larry Kudlow, one of Mr. Trump’s chief economic advisers, told Japanese and
American business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that
the United States was “on the verge of major breakthroughs” with Japan, as
well as passing its North American trade deal and potentially in
negotiations with Europe. He said the Japanese deal would also make
advances in digital trade and e-commerce.


“We may be closing in on a terrific deal,” Mr. Kudlow said.

The administration is eager to claim that it has secured the gains of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership without having to join an agreement that Mr.
Trump called “a rape of our country.”



“If they obtain increased market access for our agricultural and industrial
goods — without having to make the type of deal the president rejected when
he pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — that would be a major win
for the administration,” said Stephen P. Vaughn, a partner at King &
Spalding and the former general counsel for Office of the United States
Trade Representative.


Yet the new deal will not touch on many other areas of trade addressed in
the Trans-Pacific Partnership, including environmental provisions, customs
standards and intellectual property protection, said Wendy Cutler, a vice
president at the Asia Society Policy Institute who led negotiations over
that pact during the Obama administration. Instead, issues such as
pharmaceuticals, energy and services will be addressed in future talks.

A potential trade agreement with India appears even more limited. Months
after trade talks broke down between India and the United States, the two
countries are racing to strike at least a modest agreement before Mr. Modi
arrives for the United Nations meetings.


People briefed on trade talks between the United States and India said
negotiations were fluid. But India had previously appeared willing to
remove some restrictions on American farm products and limit its 20 percent
tariff on imported electronic goods to a maximum of 5,000 rupees, or about
$70. That would help American companies like Apple, whose iPhone XR now
sells for about $600 in the United States, but more than $800 in India.


In return, India is seeking to restore a special trade status for
developing countries that Mr. Trump revoked at the end of May. That program
had allowed billions of dollars of Indian products, including apparel and
auto parts, to come into the United States duty free.

Given India’s high barriers to foreign products, even such a limited deal
could be significant.


“This would be a historically large trade agreement for the U.S. and India
even though it’s quite small,” said Roger P. Murry, deputy director of the
Alliance for Fair Trade With India, an industry group.


Still, Ms. Cutler said some companies were concerned about the precedent of
doing minideals with major trading partners.


“It’s compounded by a concern that maybe the U.S. lost some leverage by not
including these issues in the early stage,” Ms. Cutler said.


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