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President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold up a signed trade deal. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The Mini U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Wasn’t a Win for Trump or Abe

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

A momentous week in which the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump overshadowed the announcement in New York that the United States and Japan had reached agreement on a mini trade deal. While its economic impact will be limited, the deal’s implications for the global trading system could be more significant—and not in a good way.

The Trump White House is trumpeting the new U.S.-Japan deal as “phenomenal” and a big win for American farmers, but how big is it really? And is it enough for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to sell at home? From the press statements and fact sheets, it appears that the deal will follow the outlines of what Trump and Abe previewed in August at the G-7 summit in Biarritz—except that Abe seems to have mostly caved on his key priority of getting something on automobiles. But key details are still missing because there is still no official text of the agreement. ...

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