Japan’s parliament approves a trade pact with the U.S.

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Japan’s parliament approves a trade pact with the U.S.

Japan’s parliament has approved a trade pact with the U.S. which would open the country’s markets to American beef and other agricultural products.

The U.S. has been pressing for the agreement to come into force by January 1; a way that could help Trump land votes for his 2020 re-election campaign in agricultural areas that may benefit from the deal.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party coalition holds majorities in both houses of parliament and was able to win passage easily. However, the deal has been criticized by opposition lawmakers, who say it would give away bargaining chips without guarantee that Trump won’t impose so-called national security tariffs as high as 25% on the country’s auto sector.

The threat of punitive tariffs on the exports of cars and car parts, a $50 billion-a-year sector that is a cornerstone of the Japanese economy, pushed Abe to accept two-way trade talks with the U.S. after he failed to persuade Trump to return to a Pacific pact he had rejected.

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