INTERVIEW: Ex-U.S. Negotiator Sees Washington Mulling Whether to Restrict Japan Car Imports


Tokyo, Feb. 13 (Jiji Press)--Wendy Cutler, a former key U.S. trade negotiator, has offered the view that the White House is considering whether to seek to put a ceiling on Japan's car exports to the United States in the upcoming bilateral trade negotiations.

In a recent interview with Jiji Press in Tokyo, Cutler, who was acting deputy U.S. trade representative under former President Barack Obama, said she does not know certainly whether incumbent U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer prefers the idea of imposing import restrictions on Japanese cars.

"What I do know is that the automotive negotiating objectives that the U.S. (government) submitted to Congress are extensive and provide for both import restrictions and market access provisions," Cutler said.

While noting that whether the administration of President Donald Trump will take "the quota approach" it adopted in negotiations with Mexico and Canada or develop "a different approach" is an open question, she said, "I'm sure that the U.S. (government) is consulting with Congress on the options right now."

Now that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was signed late last year to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, stipulates caps on auto and auto parts exports by Canada and Mexico to the United States, the Japanese government is guarding against a possible U.S. request for car export restrictions, saying Japan cannot accept any measures that lead to managed trade.

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