You are here: Home » International » News » Economy
Business Standard

Japan, next year's G20 chair, seeks to counter US' focus on trade deficits

Japan's agenda-setting plan also underscores Tokyo's view that instead of focusing too much on bilateral trade imbalances, there should be more emphasis on overall capital flows

Reuters 

US China trade war, US tariff, American tariff, Chinese companies, US sanction,Chinese products, United States, American port, Chinese goods,trade, Settle logistics, US President Donald Trump, President Trump, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia,  Transship

wants to highlight global imbalances as key topics of debate, and take steps to fix them, when it chairs next year's gatherings of the Group of 20 major economies, government officials said this week.

hopes other countries would join to counter US Donald Trump's focus on narrowing US trade deficits through purely bilateral trade deals, the officials say, rather than the big agreements now in place.

The annual Monetary Fund and meetings have been held on the Indonesian resort island of this week.

Japan's agenda-setting plan also underscores Tokyo's view that instead of focusing too much on bilateral trade imbalances, there should be more emphasis on overall capital flows and structural factors behind the US current account deficit - such as a lack of domestic savings.

Japanese said he made the case to his colleagues at a dinner meeting on Thursday.

"I've told my counterparts that excessive global imbalances are risks to the global ... and that it's important to discuss this at next year's meetings," Aso told reporters.

Trump's "America First" policies and escalating Sino-Chinese trade frictions have overshadowed the weekend gathering of finance leaders, many of whom expressed concerns over the harm to global growth from trade conflicts.

The G20 failed to bridge differences on trade with this year's chair, Argentine Treasury Nicolas Dujovne, conceding that the G20 can only provide a platform for countries to solve disputes among themselves.

Japan, which takes over from as G20 next year, sees brighter prospects for the forum.

"The G20 isn't a forum to solve bilateral trade disputes...but it's the best forum for debate if you see trade frictions as part of a bigger problem of global imbalances," said a senior directly involved in G20 negotiations.

Global imbalances had once been a key topic of debate at G20 gatherings with a focus on each country's current account balance, or the overall flow of money that included, but was not confined, to trade.

This approach runs counter to Trump's focus on narrowing the US trade deficit via import tariffs and bilateral deals.

has long favoured a mulilateral approach on trade over bilateral deals, which would put it under direct US pressure to open up sensitive markets like agriculture.

is also wary of having its hands tied on keeping sharp yen rises in check. A strong yen is seen as hurting Japan's by making its exports less competitive overseas.

US Treasury said on Saturday would like to include a provision to deter currency manipulation in future trade deals, including with Japan.

Japanese policymakers concede that convincing the to shift its emphasis away from bilateral US trade deficits and to focus on structural policies could be difficult.

"It may be a hard sell," the said. "But we can't give up."

First Published: Sat, October 13 2018. 12:13 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU