On October 7, 2019, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the Ambassador of Japan to the United States Shinsuke J. Sugiyama signed the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement. The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will eliminate or reduce tariffs on certain agricultural and industrial products to enhance bilateral trade and includes numerous side letters on specific items, such as alcoholic beverages, beef, rice, skimmed milk powder and whey. The Digital Trade Agreement establishes high-standard rules in digital trade and includes a side letter on interactive computer services.
As previously reported (see Trump and Trade Update of September 26, 2019), under this first stage of a broader trade agreement, Japan will provide increased market access for certain U.S. agricultural goods, the United States will reduce or eliminate tariffs on the import of certain Japanese industrial goods, and both countries will expand e-commerce and allow the free flow of data across borders. In brief remarks, President Donald Trump stated, “These two deals represent a tremendous victory for both of our nations.” He added that the agricultural agreement will eliminate Japanese tariffs on many U.S. products and that the digital agreement will “ensure that Americans have a level playing field in trading cutting-edge products and services.”
In addition to releasing the text of the two trade agreements and side letters, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published fact sheets with additional details on aspects of the agreements: