US President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration reached an “initial” trade deal regarding tariff barriers with Japan, indicating that the agreement doesn’t need to be approved by Congress.
“I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks,” Trump said in a message to Congress that was released by the White House.
Trump further said, “I will also be entering into an “executive agreement” with Japan regarding digital trade”.
He said that his administration looks forward to “continued collaboration” with the Congress on further negotiations with Japan to achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.
Neither agreement would require a vote in Congress under the so-called “fast track” approval process.
Last year, the Trump administration notified Congress that it would pursue negotiations with Japan under this method.
On a critical issue to Japan, Trump’s announcement left unclear whether he has agreed not to impose threatened national security tariffs on Japanese vehicles and auto parts. Avoiding the “Section 232” tariffs of up to 25% was a major motivating factor for Tokyo in negotiating with Washington on trade.
In August, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) in Biarritz, France that they had reached an agreement in principle to lower tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods, leaving out the auto sector.
Earlier this year, Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on imported cars and auto parts on national security grounds, provoking backlash at home and abroad.