U.S. urges removal of "broad range" of trade barriers with Japan

©Kyodo News

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Wednesday it is seeking to remove Japanese tariffs and other trade barriers affecting U.S. products, signaling that efforts to increase exports to Japan will continue under the new administration of President Joe Biden.

While noting that over 90 percent of U.S. farm exports to Japan are duty-free or receive preferential tariff access under a trade agreement that took effect last year, the USTR maintained in its annual report that "a broad range of barriers" to trade exist.

The United States continues to engage closely with the Japanese government "to urge removal" of barriers to U.S. exports, the report said, touching on high tariffs on products such as leather and footwear, a "highly regulated and nontransparent" rice import system and other obstacles that exist in services and investment.

The report on foreign trade barriers also said the United States and Japan are meeting regularly to review the implementation of the deal, which took effect in January last year, and to address "outstanding issues."

On a U.S.-China trade deal that also entered into force last year, the USTR said it will continue to "monitor developments closely," including Beijing's implementation of its commitment to address U.S. concerns over some unfair trade practices.

Under the "phase one" deal, reached under the previous U.S. administration of Donald Trump, China has agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. goods and services over two years by at least $200 billion, in a move that is expected to help reduce the chronic U.S. trade deficit.

China has also agreed to strengthen intellectual property protection and pursue financial services liberalization, while committing to address allegations of forced technology transfer and currency manipulation to boost exports.