On 17 November 2021, the U.S. and Japan announced a new partnership on trade that will facilitate regular engagement on trade-related matters of importance to both countries. This partnership builds on agreements the two sides concluded two years ago on trade in agricultural, industrial, and digital goods.
The initial areas of focus under the new partnership will include global excess capacity in the steel and aluminum sectors, cooperation in regional and multilateral trade-related fora, labor and environment-related priorities, a supportive digital ecosystem for all, trade facilitation, and supply chain issues. The partnership will also support the “development of an economic framework for the Indo-Pacific and help create sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and competitive trade policies that lift up our people and economies.” The first series of meetings is anticipated in early 2022 and periodic meetings will be held thereafter on a regular basis.
The U.S. and Japan also recently announced the launch of a commercial and industrial partnership “that will strengthen the competitiveness, resiliency, and security” of the two countries’ economies. The partnership will enable deeper cooperation on efforts to strengthen supply chains, including for semiconductors and 5G components; export controls, including those needed to protect critical technologies; addressing market-distorting measures and unfair trade practices in other countries; and promoting innovations such as digital technologies.
Furthermore, both countries will hold talks on possibly lifting the U.S.’ Section 232 tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum products from Japan, as was recently done with the European Union.