Japan, U.S. reach framework trade pact, no tariff cuts on Japan cars, report says

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TOKYO — The U.S. and Japan agreed on a broad framework for a trade deal, pushing back the implementation of President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on automobiles, the Nikkei reported without citing sources.

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, and Japan Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, reached an agreement in Washington on Friday, the newspaper reported. Japan will lower tariffs on U.S. beef and pork to the same levels as those proposed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Nikkei said.

The report raises the likelihood that Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make an announcement on trade during the Group of Seven meetings in France this weekend. Trump, who threatened to raise tariffs on the approximately $50 billion worth of cars and auto parts Japan exports to the U.S. annually, had hinted that there might be a deal in August.

The U.S. will push back the implementation of a 2.5 percent tariff on Japanese automobiles, while Japan’s tariffs on imported beef will be lowered gradually to 9 percent from 38.5 percent, the newspaper said. A draft agreement could be signed by the end of September, the Nikkei reported.

Japan is seeking to stay in Trump’s good graces to avoid costly tariffs and retain positive relations with an ally that ensures its security against the likes of China and North Korea. Japan is also counting on U.S. support as its diplomatic spat with South Korea intensifies.

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