USTR seeks comments on Japan trade talks

   The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is seeking comments on a proposed U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, including U.S. interests and priorities, as it develops U.S. negotiating positions, the agency said in a statement.
   USTR will accept public comments through Nov. 26, and the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee will hold a public hearing on Dec. 10 at 9:30 a.m. to collect input for negotiations at the International Trade Commission in Washington.
   “Our aim in negotiations with Japan is to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers and to achieve fairer, more balanced trade,” USTR said.
   Per procedures required by Trade Promotion Authority legislation, USTR on Oct. 16 formally notified Congress of the Trump administration’s intent to enter trade agreement negotiations with Japan.
   Specifically, USTR is asking for comments on general and product-specific negotiating objectives for the proposed agreement, barriers to trade in goods and services, economic costs and benefits to U.S. producers and consumers of removal or reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on goods traded with Japan, treatment of specific goods — described by Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) numbers — under the proposed agreement, including industry’s experience with “particular measures” that should be addressed in talks, and ways to address export priorities and import sensitivities in the agreement’s context.
   The agency also is seeking comments on customs and trade facilitation issues, sanitary/phytosanitary measures and technical barriers to trade, as well as “other measures or practices” that undermine fair market opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers that should be addressed in the negotiations, USTR said.
   USTR also notified Congress on Oct. 16 of the administration’s intentions to start separate bilateral trade agreement negotiations with the European Union and the United Kingdom.