By on September 16, 2019

With Japan and the United States spending the better part of the summer discussing trade relations, there were minor fears that the island nation would become subject to new tariffs. Fortunately, most of the reporting on the matter showed negotiations to be productive, with President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe perpetually optimistic about the two countries’ relationship.

Last month at a Group of Seven Summit, the pair even claimed to be on the verge of signing a new agreement. According to Reuters, that will come without new fees on Japanese-made automobiles.

Citing reports from the Tokyo Shimbun, the outlet suggests there will be a joint pledge to avoid import tariffs or quotas on Japanese cars. The announcement is supposed to take place following a final meeting between the two leaders next week in New York. Details, while not final, appear to match what Abe and Trump said late last month, including the September timeline.

From Reuters:

Washington and Tokyo agreed to the core elements of a trade deal last month on the sidelines of a Group of Seven Summit, with Trump and Abe saying they hoped to sign an agreement this month.

As part of the limited trade deal, Tokyo would make concessions on agricultural imports from the United States while Washington would refrain from raising tariffs on Japanese cars as Trump had threatened to do earlier.

The agreement, if finalised, would lessen trade frictions between the two allies at a time when the United States is locked in a trade war with China.

[Image: Sakarin Sawasdinaka/Shutterstock]

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5 Comments on “United States Won’t Raise Tariffs on Japanese Vehicles, Report Suggests...”

  • avatar

    Why not? We are Japan’s #1 customer yet anyone would have a better chance at winning the lottery than they would with finding one of our cars on their roads. Talk about unfair trade!

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, right, as if this point hadn’t been debated here a few thousand times before. If the Japanese wanted pickup trucks and giant cheapo sedans in a land where you have trouble finding parking for your kei car at your home, then some enterprising importer would have satisfied the need decades ago. The Japanese make different vehicles for different markets. We don’t get most Japanese models here because they wouldn’t sell – essentially unfit for the market. If Ford and GM and the perpetually lost “where am I” Chrysler had any clue about exporting vehicles, they’d have made models foreigners actually wanted to buy that suited their country. But oh no, somehow they’re supposed to take the same models we like here.

      Do try to apply some common sense.

      Toyota tried to sell Cavaliers in Japan as a courtesy a couple of decades ago. Not overly large, but expecting those crapboxes to sell was a blind hope. You could smell the cheapness a mile off, and potential customers stayed away in droves.

      • 0 avatar

        “Do try to apply some common sense.”

        No need to be rude.

        The Bolt would be a strong contender in Japan.

        Ford and GM make plenty of vehicles in other countries that should also stand a chance. Kinda like you said Japan does.

    • 0 avatar

      How would you feel if Japan demanded that the US screens the same amount of Japanese movies as Japan screens American movies?
      American car makers have nothing on offer that would appeal to the Japanese market. In terms of small cars, they do not even have appealing products in the US market.

  • avatar

    I have been to Japan a few times, and there are some American cars on the roads – just not that many. There are no Big 3 pickup trucks because they simply don’t fit well in Japan. Where pickup trucks are needed, there are usually kei trucks and mini trucks.

    The Jeep brand vehicles seem to be somewhat popular in Japan. I’ve seen a handful of Wranglers, one of them done up to the maximum possible with aftermarket goodies, presumably built for the owner to thumb their nose at the established order in Japan. Grand Cherokees are uncommon though present. Corvettes are seen roaming the streets of Tokyo along with some very expensive Italian sportscars.

    One thing to remember about Japan is that owning a car is largely optional. No matter where you are in a medium to large city, you are five minutes from a train station that can get you anywhere in the city and even to the other side of the country if you make your connections right. Most of the cars in Japan are low mileage as a result, and we see a lot of early 90s JDM imports in the US with very low mileage despite the age.

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