WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday applauded Japan's legislative approval of limited U.S. trade deals and said that President Donald Trump was expected to sign an implementing proclamation next week.
The deal, which improves access to Japan for U.S. farm products such as beef and pork while reducing some U.S. tariffs on Japanese industrial products, does not require approval by the U.S. Congress, but Democrats have complained about a lack of information about the deal from the White House.
"I commend Japan's quick action to approve these important trade agreements between our two nations, which are the world's first- and third-largest economies," Lighthizer said after its approval by Japan's Diet. "We expect the president to sign the implementing proclamation for the United States next week."
Lighthizer said the deal would benefit U.S. farmers, ranchers and digital services providers.
The trade representative said the two countries were preparing for the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
The agreement does not address auto trade, the biggest source of the $67 billion U.S. goods trade deficit with Japan.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday told Reuters that Trump has not ruled out imposing tariffs on auto imports, including those from Japan, despite the expiration of a review period last month.
The trade representative said the United States and Japan "will begin consultations early next year in order to enter into further negotiations on a broader trade agreement."