Senior officials recently held a third round of talks under the U.S.-Japan Partnership on Trade, which aims to promote regular discussions and advance collaboration on trade-related topics between the two countries. The U.S. launched the partnership in November 2021 to build on previous bilateral agreements on trade in agricultural, industrial, and digital goods and to help counter China’s efforts to strengthen its own regional economic position.
According to a press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Feb. 2-3 talks addressed the agenda and timing of the first meeting of the Task Force on the Promotion of Human Rights and International Labor Standards in Supply Chains, as well as other issues related to forced labor. Participants also discussed ways they can further cooperate on (1) responding to specific third-country regulations that raise concerns about the interests of users and providers in the digital economy, (2) potential new approaches in several areas of trade-related collaboration, and (3) non-market and trade-distorting practices of “third countries” (typically a reference to China).
The two sides also raised specific bilateral trade issues, including regulatory transparency, ensuring a level playing field for certain products and services, increasing Japan’s use of ethanol, and issues related to the Inflation Reduction Act (likely focusing on U.S. subsidies for manufacturing semiconductors, a topic of significant interest to Japan).
No specific achievements from the talks were noted by USTR, and no mention was made of when further discussions might be held. Unlike other U.S. efforts in the region, the partnership with Japan is focused on facilitating regular engagement on trade issues and not the development of new trade-related agreements.
For more information on U.S.-Japan trade issues, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.
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