Japan has kept a very low profile vis-a-vis Donald Trump, in hopes that they could escape his wrath and maybe even cut a small trade deal. And they have! But there’s a hitch from President Deals:
For more than a year, Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on automobiles imported to the United States from Japan and Europe. He has said that Japan, for example, should make it cheaper for U.S. companies to send cars there, but an agreement has never been reached….The president last month said he had no plans “at this moment” to hit Japan with the controversial import taxes, but added: “It’s something I could do at a later date if I wanted to.”
Reasonably enough, Japan doesn’t want to conclude an agreement in other areas only to turn around and see that Trump decided one morning to destroy the Japanese car industry with 25 percent tariffs. So for the moment we’re at something of an impasse. Trump may not be very good at trade deals, but he’s an absolute master at those.