On October 16, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) notified Congress of the Trump administration’s intention to enter into negotiations with Japan for a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. (See Trump and Trade Update dated October 17, 2018.) USTR has stated that its aim in the negotiations is to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade. As a result, and in order to develop negotiating objectives, USTR is seeking public comments on such a proposed agreement, including U.S. interests and priorities.

In particular, USTR is seeking comments on the following issues:

  • General and product-specific negotiating objectives for the proposed agreement.
  • Relevant barriers to trade in goods and services between the United States and Japan that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • Economic costs and benefits to U.S. producers and consumers of removal or reduction of tariffs and removal or reduction of non-tariff barriers on articles traded with Japan.
  • Treatment of specific goods (described by HTSUS numbers) under the proposed agreement, including comments on: (i) product-specific import or export interests or barriers; (ii) experience with particular measures that should be addressed in the negotiations; and (iii) ways to address export priorities and import sensitivities in the context of the proposed agreement.
  • Customs and trade facilitation issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade that should be addressed in the negotiations.
  • Other measures or practices that undermine fair market opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers that should be addressed in the negotiations.

Written comments addressing USTR’s negotiating objectives must be submitted no later than November 26, 2018. USTR’s Trade Policy Staff Committee will hold a public hearing on these negotiating objective on December 10, 2018; any request to appear and testify must also be submitted by November 26. Requests to testify and written comments must be filed through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov on Docket No. USTR-2018-0034.