U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (R) join U.S. President Donald Trump Chip Somodevilla/Staff/GettyImagesNews

Trump administration to negotiate with Japan, EU and UK

Trade negotiations could begin as early as mid-January.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that the Trump Administration intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom,” Lighthizer said.  “We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.” 

In officially notifying Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative is following the procedures set out in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, often referred to as Trade Promotion Authority, which requires ongoing consultations with Congress.  These consultations ensure that USTR develops negotiating positions with the benefit of Congress’ views. USTR will also publish notices in the Federal Register requesting the public’s input on the direction, focus and content of the trade negotiations.

In accordance with TPA, USTR will publish objectives for the negotiations at least 30 days before formal trade negotiations begin. 

Trade numbers 

U.S. goods and services trade with Japan totaled an estimated $283.6 billion in 2017. Exports were $114 billion; imports were $169.5 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Japan was $55.5 billion in 2017.

U.S. goods and services trade with the EU totaled nearly $1.2 trillion in 2017.  Exports totaled $527 billion; Imports totaled $627 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with the EU was $100 billion in 2017.  

U.S. goods and services trade with United Kingdom totaled an estimated $235.9 billion in 2017. Exports were $125.9 billion; imports were $110.0 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade surplus with United Kingdom was $15.9 billion in 2017.

Reaction

The American Soybean Association is hopeful that the administration’s formal notice to Congress that it will enter trade negotiations with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom as soon as mid-January will make a settlement with China a plausible next step, bringing an end to the devastating tariff imposed on American soybeans.

Concluding the USMCA and success with subsequent FTA negotiations with Japan, the EU and other countries would mean opportunities to potentially increase U.S. soy and livestock product exports to other promising markets, including the Philippines. ASA is encouraging the administration to consider adding Vietnam and Indonesia to its list of potential negotiating targets. Knowing, however, that increased sales to these markets won’t offset lost U.S. export to China, ASA continues to emphasize the need to reach an agreement that rescinds the current tariffs and allows soy growers to begin to restore this vital, number one export market.

Read the letters

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding Japan, click here.

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding the European Union, click here.

To read the notification letters sent to Congress regarding the United Kingdom, click here.

Source: Office of U.S. Trade Representative, American Soybean Association

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