White House, Joint Statement of the United States and Japan, September 25, 2019. The U.S. negotiating objectives, published at the beginning of the talks in December 2018, suggested that a wide range of issues be covered beyond tariffs and digital trade. See ustr.gov/countries-regions/japan-korea-apec/japan/us-japan-trade-agreement-negotiations. U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, Joint Consultative Statement of the Security Committee, April 19, 2019, on www.mofa.go.jp/files/000470738.pdf; Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, „Sixth Annual Sasakawa USA Security Forum focused on New Security Challenges for the U.S.- Japan Alliance,“ April 30, 2019, on spfusa.org/sasakawa-blog/sixth-annual-sasakawa-usa-security-forum-focused-on-new-security-challenges-for-the-u-s-japan-alliance/. Rare earths, a category of minerals that are essential ingredients in many high-tech products, are essential inputs for many products made in Japan. The export ban has been particularly strong because China promotes and exports more than 90% of the world`s rare earths. Martin Fackler and Ian Johnson, „Arrest in Disputed Sead Riles China and Japan,“ New York Times, 19 September 2010, at www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/world/asia/20chinajapan.html; Keith Bradsher, „Amid Tension, China Blocks Vital Exports to Japan,“ New York Times, September 22, 2010, on www.nytimes.com/2010/09/23/business/global/23rare.html. The threat of possible tariffs on cars under Section 232 has prompted Japan to open broader negotiations with the United States on a bilateral trade agreement, although it preferred the return of the United States to the Regional Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP, see „Bilateral Trade Agreements between the United States and Japan“ below). After six months of negotiations, President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced on September 25, 2019 that the „first step“ of a trade agreement on „early gains“ for access to the agricultural market and certain tariffs on industrial products had been concluded. 6 While the agreement does not imply a reduction in current U.S.
tariffs on cars or a formal speech from Section 232, the USTR indicated that the USTR did not intend to impose new tariffs on cars in Japan „at this stage.“