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2019-09-11 44 ENGLISH REPORTS
There remains a risk that the Trump administration eventually will complain that the trade deficit with Japan has not narrowed, and choose to include a currency clause in the USJapan trade agreement, although the risk has eased since the August 25 Trump-Abe meeting. The respective finance ministers have not discussed this issue. Japan has continued to insist that discussion of exchange rate policy should be separate from the trade negotiations, and has opposed the inclusion of any currency clauses in this trade agreement. A currency clause like that included in the FTA between the US and Korea and the USMCA is unlikely to constrain Japan’s FX and monetary policies. However, the US Commerce Department proposed to treat policy-driven currency undervaluation as an unfair subsidy that can be countered with tariffs using the existing anti-dumping/countervailing duty framework and procedures. Thus Japan may risk the US imposing tariffs on Japanese goods if the Japanese government intervenes in the FX market to stop sharp yen appreciation. We do not expect Japan to agree readily to include any currency clauses in the US-Japan trade agreement. And there remains a risk that President Trump would complain about JPY weakness if the trade negotiations do not result in a compromise, which would put upward pressure on JPY, reminiscent of President Clinton referring to yen appreciation to reduce the trade imbalance, which led the yen to appreciate substantially.
While the impact of the US-Japan trade negotiations on Japan’s growth will be small, the impact of the US-China trade war potentially will be far larger. After the war re-escalated on August 23, US tariffs on China could breach 25% in a worst-case scenario. The concern is that this trade war will not end in the near future or be managed appropriately. The impact on Japan’s economy would come through three main channels. First is the supply chain. Japan’s exports to China have not increased visibly so far this year (Figure 5). It is important to note that the impact on Japan’s exports from a decrease in China’s exports to the US is bigger than the impact of an equivalent decline in China’s domestic demand (Figure 6). In addition to the rise in overall tariff rates on China’s exports to the US, Japan cannot substitute China’s exports to the US on which 15% tariffs will be newly imposed, so that the downside risk to Japan’s exports is mounting.
标签： ENGLISH REPORTS