Japan Can't Accept US Auto Tariffs

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country "cannot accept" potential U.S. auto import tariffs up to 25% on imported auto parts and vehicles being considered by the Trump administration. Automakers and free trade advocates in both countries are opposing the potential tariffs, warning they could wreak havoc on both countries' economies. The U.S. is the largest market for Japanese car imports.  According to a report by the Trade Partnership, a trade policy consultancy,  the tariffs could boost the U.S. auto sector by nearly 92,000 jobs, but would cost a total of 250,000 jobs across other industries in the country. 

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Is Japan buying American oil?  Is Japan buying American coal?  The items that Trump wants to go sell are not on the Japan wish list. Mr. Trump is an impulsive fellow and I don't see him doing much in the way of economic research (or even listening to that which is done by others) when jumping in with his policy decisions.  The money-earner for Americans in export to Japan are various fish, especially tuna caught in the Atlantic  (one big fish, $5,000 for fresh sushi in Tokyo the next morning) and marbled cattle meat, for which US beef Japan pays a premium. I don't see Japan having enough leverage to deflect some impulsive tariff of The Donald.  Canada is equal to China in terms of dollar value of mutual exports, and they were helpless to deflect a whopping 25% tariff on their steel industry exports.   The USA is the largest export market for Canadian steel, and likely absorbs half the output of the Hamilton steel works.  Ouch. 

(Ironically, the hefty tariffs are not likely to greatly diminish US imports of Canadian steel in the short term.  The specific grades of automotive rolled sheet steel are not readily replaceable, and US auto-plant buyers are likely to swallow the tariff and continue to import. So I don't see Allentown, Pennsylvania getting a huge boost out of this, at least not for the next two years, if ever.)

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