Frihandel i media vecka 15

2019-04-11

Pressklippen börjar med en ovanligt relevant insändare i VLT, av Per Ågren, IF Metall Mälardalen på Volvo GTO Köping :

“Nu i april hade vi industriarbetare fått gå hem från jobbet om det inte vore för exporten. Hela tre fjärdedelar av det vi tillverkar i Sverige säljs nämligen utomlands. Så redan vid den här tiden på året är produktionen som motsvarar behovet på den svenska marknaden avklarad.

Resten av det vi tillverkar under året går på export. EU underlättar handeln inom Europa, men ger oss också bättre handelsavtal med länder utanför Europa. Det skapar jobb och ger inkomster till vår välfärd.

Inför Europaparlamentsvalet den 26 maj behöver vi påminna om EU:s betydelse för exporten, och välja politiker som står för frihandel och öppenhet. Populister och högerextrema står för det motsatta och måste hållas borta från inflytande. Inte bara för demokratins skull, utan även för jobben och välfärden.”

 

2019-04-11

Nästa vecka börjar Japan och USA förhandla om ett frihandelsavtal. Japanerna har avfyrat första varningsskottet, enligt Financial Times:

“Japan has fired a warning shot at the Trump administration ahead of the first round of trade talks next week, insisting the US will have to offer better access for Japanese goods if it wants to secure a free trade deal.

An agreement that does not include concessions to Japan would be illegal under World Trade Organization rules and stands no chance of ratification by Japan’s Diet, according to a senior trade official directly involved in preparations for the talks.

The comments highlight how hard it would be to reach a deal that is acceptable to Japan and also satisfies US president Donald Trump’s demands for gains on both agriculture and automobiles.

The official said an agreement without significant concessions from the US would violate the WTO’s Article 24, which requires free trade deals to cover “substantially all” trade between two countries and it would be “impossible to bring it to the Diet”.

“Clearly there are some arguments about [Japan making] unilateral concessions which I couldn’t understand,” said the official.

However, Japanese negotiators know they have to tread carefully because of the risk that Mr Trump could slap tariffs on Japanese car exports, a crucial sector of the economy.

(—)

Japan wants the talks with Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, to be narrowly focused on goods and some services, and expects to grant the same agricultural concessions it gave in the TPP in return for getting better access for its industrial exports.

The TPP cut Japanese tariffs on imports of chilled beef from the standard rate of 38.5 per cent to an initial level of 27.5 per cent. That has put US farmers at an 11 percentage point disadvantage on price, prompting farmers to pressure the US to launch trade talks quickly as they rapidly lose market share in Japan.

Under the TPP, Japan was set to enjoy big cuts in US tariffs on industrial goods, including a reduction of the levy on automobiles from 2 per cent to zero. It hopes to replicate some of those gains in a bilateral deal.

The Japanese official said Tokyo will discuss “nothing more and nothing less” than what was agreed with Mr Trump in September, and currency matters may not be part of the talks as a result. “We have to be clear that anyone other than Mr Lighthizer speaking on this issue is completely irrelevant,” said the official.”

 

 


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