U.S., Japan Agree to Resolve Trump-Era Tariffs, Discuss 'Unfair Practices' in Trade

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Japan's Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda agreed to resolve Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum. They also agreed to further discuss "unfair practices" in trade.

According to the Associated Press, a partnership was announced earlier this week that will work on a "Japan-U.S. common global agenda" for trade and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, Japan's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) said.

Tai and Hagiuda talked Wednesday after a visit to Tokyo previously this week by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Tai and Hagiuda also agreed to build a bilateral framework of talks among senior officials from the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Japanese trade and foreign ministries to discuss trade issues and "unfair practices related to third countries."

Although the statement did not name the countries, it appeared to be implying China.

"For Japan and the United States, who share values of freedom, democracy, and rule of law, leading the world economy, it's essential that we strengthen our economic cooperative relationship," Hagiuda said.

President Joe Biden's administration attempts to alleviate tension leftover from Donald Trump's days in office by having the U.S. envoys visit the region.

"In affirming the U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific, President Biden has stressed that his vision seeks a region that is open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure," Tai said.

Efforts to resolve the tariffs issues come as the cost of steel skyrocketed while economies speed up after slowing during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, major economics are determined to try to restrain excess output in both industries.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Japan, U.S., Trade, Tariffs
Japan and the U.S. are meeting to resolve Trump-era tariffs, as well as to discuss "unfair practices" in trade related to third countries. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, right, poses for a photo with her counterpart Koichi Hagiuda prior to their meeting in Tokyo, November 17, 2021. Koji Sasahara/AP Photo

METI said in a statement that the two sides had confirmed plans for negotiations on the tariffs issue and on addressing global excess production capacity.

It said Tai and Hagiuda also discussed preparations for ministerial-level talks of the World Trade Organization that are due to begin November 30 in Geneva.

Tai was to also meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi for talks and a working dinner later Wednesday.

Trump imposed extra tariffs of 25 percent on imports of steel and 10 percent on imports of aluminum, citing a need to protect American industries. That move angered U.S. allies in Japan, South Korea and Europe.

In meetings with Tai and Raimondo, Japanese officials said they were emphatic about having the tariffs problem resolved.

The U.S. and EU recently resolved their dispute over the punitive tariffs, with the U.S. agreeing to increase imports from the bloc. The deal helped forestall the imposition of retaliatory EU tariffs on billions of dollars worth of imports of American products such as Harley Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon. Those duties had been due to take effect in December.

Katherine Tai, U.S., Japan, Tariffs, Meeting
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai speaks with British International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan during a G7 trade summit at Mansion House on October 22, 2021, in London, England. Tai was part of a meeting in which Japan and the U.S. agreed to resolve Trump-era tariffs and will have further talks discussing "unfair practices related to third countries." Henry Nicholls/WPA Pool / Getty Images