High-fives and helicopters . . .
Japan will be engaging in a bit of ‘indulgence diplomacy’ during U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit on Saturday, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attempting to lure Trump back into a strategic relationship. The trip is expected to include hours of golf and the opportunity for President Trump to be the first world leader to meet Japan’s new emperor. Abe will also show the U.S. President a helicopter platform adapted for F-35B stealth jets, dangling the possibility of a future purchase of the American-made military equipment.
In their mutual self-interest . . .
Japan is trying to change the President’s mind on protectionism. Trump has already put a 180-day hold on tariffs on auto imports from Japan, but Abe is heading into an election in June, and is neither willing nor able to make concessions about tariffs or commit to import more U.S. agricultural products. However, both leaders know that this bilateral relationship is one of the few things Trump has going for him in Asia. It’s in their mutual interest to keep it that way, particularly with the trade war with China escalating in tone and substance.
Canada’s time to shine . . .
There are no signs that Canada will lose its CPTPP edge with Japan anytime soon. The relationship was strengthened during Abe’s visit to Ottawa in April, and Japan kept its promise to increase trade opportunities once the CPTPP is ratified. On May 17, Japan lowered tariffs and restrictions on Canadian beef exports to a 27.2 per cent average. Tariffs for US beef remain at 38.5 per cent. Nevertheless, Canada has its work cut out in increasing its market share in Japan, which now sits at just 1.5 per cent of Japan’s total imports.
- Time: Steak, sumo and fighter jets: Inside Japan's plan to keep Trump busy
- The Western Producer: Japan to accept more Canadian beef
- Centre for International Policy Studies: The dawning of a new era