Japan quickly ratifies US free trade agreement

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Japan's turnaround for approving a new trade deal with the US has been impressive.

The final barriers to a Japan-US free trade agreement have been removed after the deal was given the green light by Japan's Upper House this week.

Officially named the US-Japan Trade Agreement and US-Japan Digital Trade Agreement, the deal was negotiated with what analysts have noted was remarkable speed.

US president Donald Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced that talks would begin in September 2018, with the first meetings taking place in April 2019.

A resultant agreement was signed on October 7th this year by US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese ambassador to the US Shinsuke J Sugiyama pending ratification - which has now occurred.

Mr Abe has made it clear in the past that improving relations with Washington is a priority for Japan.

The deal does not require approval by the US Congress and Mr Trump is expected to make an implementing proclamation next week before the deal goes into effect on January 1st 2020.

For Japan, the benefits include tariff cuts on a range of industrial products, while the US will enjoy tariff removals and phased cuts for the agriculture industry in particular.

"I commend Japan's quick action to approve these important trade agreements between our two nations, which are the world's first and third largest economies," said Mr Lighthizer in a statement.