The intensive and relentless efforts by the United States President Donald Trump to reduce the trade deficit with Japan, expectations of an increase in exports to the US because of trade talks between the two countries was expressed by almost half of the Japanese companies who were surveyed in a poll conducted by the global news agency Reuters.
According to the monthly poll, over half of the respondents were concerned that there would be higher tariffs imposed on Japanese exports into the US as well as other trade related restrictions on Japanese companies following the talks between the US and Japan which were agreed to by the two countries in September.
Ever since Trump became the president of the US, he has been very critical of the huge trade deficits that the country has with the trading partners Japan and China.
Trade is one of the areas which he hoped would help him to work together with the Democrats who have taken control over the House of Representatives following the U.S. midterm elections last week. Japan has also not treated United States fairly on trade, Trump has also said.
“They send in millions of cars at a very low tax. They don’t take our cars,” he said kast Wednesday.
US has demanded greater access to the Japanese market for American beef and rice, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has also targeted what he calls non-tariff barriers for the Japanese car market.
According to the survey conducted between Oct 24 and Nov 5 also showed that a large section of the Japanese companies are also confident that U.S. pressure would be resisted by Japan despite the trade hostility.
“Japan must firmly resist unfair demands from the U.S.,” a manager of an electric machinery maker wrote.
“We hope the trade talks will result in a way that serves the best interests of Japan,” wrote a manager of a transport equipment maker.
50 percent of companies polled chose “an expansion of exports” when the survey asked them to pick the expected outcome from the trade talks. Belief that trade talks would lead to an opening up of the domestic Japanese market was expressed by just 19 percent of the respondents. The Japanese domestic market protects many of its sectors such as beef and rice through high import tariffs. They also do not believe that Japan would also remove the supposed barriers to the car market.
Japan has stressed that there are no non-tariff barriers in the car market in Japan and US companies have historically not been able to do well in the market because they have invested almost nothing to develop a market for themselves.
Imposition of import restrictions or higher tariffs on Japanese products was the biggest fear from the trade talks between the two countries as expressed by 53 percent of the respondents when asked about their biggest concern regarding the talks.
“We’re watching what the two countries may settle for if currency provisions are introduced, and how that would affect the currency and stock markets,” a manager of a manufacturer wrote.
(Adapted from JapanToday.com)