Did the U.S. give up the TPP for this?
Nikkei Asian Review (Japan)
Japan’s president Shinzo Abe schooled President Trump last week when the two countries agreed on a new trade deal, said William Pesek. “Trump was desperate for a win on the global stage. Any win would do.” U.S.-China trade talks are in tatters, farmers are fuming over tariffs, and impeachment is a real threat. Abe’s team skillfully “exploited Trump’s anxiety and time pressure.” Trump will naturally claim victory, “but Abe pretty much gave him only what Barack Obama got back in 2016.” The pact on agriculture is almost the same as Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which Trump repeatedly attacked. One exception is rice, on which the new pact’s terms favor Japan. The agreement lowers levies on digital commerce between the two countries, mirroring TPP, “while cuts in industrial tariffs here and there mean little pain for Abe’s economy.” China’s maneuvering “played right into Tokyo’s hands,” and Team Trump blinked, dropping demands for lower-tariff quotas on dairy and other products. The pact did skip over one crucial question: whether Trump will go ahead with 25 percent import taxes on cars and auto parts, which could cost Japan’s auto giants $4.6 billion. But for now, Abe showed Trump how a real deal gets done.