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Trump Administration Formally Initiates Bilateral Trade Negotiations with Japan, Seeks Stakeholder Input on Negotiating Objectives by November 26

On October 16, 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) formally notified Congress that the Trump Administration intends to enter into trade negotiations with Japan towards a possible U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. As part of that process, USTR is seeking input from interested stakeholders on U.S. interests and priorities, in order to develop the U.S. negotiating position. On October 26, 2018, USTR announced that interested parties have until November 26, 2018 to submit such comments. November 26 is also the deadline to request to testify at a public hearing that USTR will hold on December 10, 2018.

The issues USTR is seeking public input on include:

  • Current tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. exports to Japan;

  • Customs and trade facilitation issues that could be addressed and improved;

  • Sanitary and phytosanitary measures and other regulatory and standards-based technical barriers to trade between the two countries; and

  • Other measures and practices that undermine fair market opportunities in Japan for U.S. businesses, investors, and exporters.

This 30-day window for public comment and participation in the hearing process presents a unique chance for companies and industry associations to raise issues impacting their business interests in both countries. It also provides the opportunity for interested parties to present their case for increased coordination between U.S. and Japanese standards and regulatory practices in a host of industries, including health care, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, financial institutions, insurance, information technology, express delivery services, autos and auto parts, electronics, and aerospace, among many others. Some of these efforts can be expected to be informed by past work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, but many others will be new and will reflect the changing U.S.-Japan bilateral trade and investment relationship over the past two years.

© 2020 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 299


About this Author

Nate Bolin, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Washington DC, Litigation Law Attorney

Nate Bolin has significant experience advising clients in compliance, transactional, litigation, policy and regulatory matters involving U.S. export controls, U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), economic sanctions, and related areas of national security and international trade law.

In corporate transactions and mergers and acquisitions, Nate regularly advises buyers, sellers and investors on the impact of U.S. export controls, customs laws, trade remedy laws, existing bilateral and multilateral trade...

(202) 230-5888
James Sawyer, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Chicago, Trade Law Attorney

James L. Sawyer counsels clients in all areas of U.S. import laws and regulations, including tariff classification, valuation, origin determination and marking, Free Trade Agreements, and duty preference programs. He chairs the firm’s Customs and International Trade Team and is the Regional Partner in Charge of the firm's Chicago office.

James represents clients in enforcement proceedings and investigations, Focused Assessment audits, and other verification proceedings conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He frequently assists clients craft responses to formal CBP Requests for Information and Notices of Action, which are often precursors to more aggressive CBP enforcement proceedings. 

Douglass Heffner, International trade lawyer, Drinker Biddle

Douglas J. Heffner litigates customs and international trade matters including antidumping duty, countervailing duty and safeguard cases. He represents foreign companies in Canada, Europe, Japan and Mexico, as well as domestic producers in industries that range from high-tech to heavy industry, to consumer and industrial goods. He also represents trade associations, government agencies and embassies in a broad range of matters.

Richard P Ferrin, International Trade Lawyer, Drinker Biddle

Richard P. Ferrin advises clients about international trade regulations, particularly antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings at both the administrative and appellate levels. He advocates for his client in global “safeguards” proceedings and on customs matters involving classification issues and country-of-origin determinations. Richard has represented foreign manufacturers, foreign exporters, and U.S. importers in antidumping and countervailing duty proceedings before the U.S. International Trade Commission, and in judicial review of...

William Rucker, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, International Trade and Customs Specialist

William R. “Randy” Rucker assists clients with all aspects of U.S. Customs law, including the classification and valuation of merchandise, country of origin and marking determinations, quantitative import restraints, duty-preference and savings programs, understanding and receiving the benefits of free trade agreements, compliance audits, enforcement actions and other trade-related matters.

In order to assist clients with their compliance efforts and satisfy "reasonable care" requirements, Randy frequently performs reviews of companies' internal...