• Trump Says U.S., Japan Reach Initial Agreement on Tariffs

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. President Donald Trump said his administration will enter into an initial trade accord over tariffs with Japan in the coming weeks while Tokyo warned any final deal must include assurances that Washington won’t slap new duties on $50 billion of Japanese automobiles.In a notice to Congress on Monday, Trump also said the U.S. will be entering an “executive agreement” with Japan over digital trade. There was no mention by Trump if he’ll end the threat to impose tariffs on Japanese auto imports as part of the trade deal.“My administration looks forward to continued collaboration with the Congress on further negotiations with Japan to achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Japan,” Trump said in the statement released by the White House via email.Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the country’s point man for the trade talks with Washington, said Tokyo wanted to see the Trump administration lay to rest the threat of new auto tariffs before agreeing to a final trade deal.“We are aware of the internal process that is going on in the U.S. and the president’s notice of the U.S-Japan trade negotiations,” Motegi told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. He added that language assuring Japan on car tariffs was under consideration.Key details still need to be worked out. While Japan is a key export market for U.S. rice farmers, American growers won’t get increased sales under the current terms of the deal, people familiar with the accord said. U.S. producers hope the issue will be dealt with in the second phase of negotiations between the two countries, according to one of the people.The threat of steep new U.S tariffs on imported automobiles and components has loomed over the auto industry and major American trading partners since the Commerce Department in February found those imports could impair national security.‘In Principle’After meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G-7 summit in France last month, Trump announced that the two countries had struck a trade deal “in principle.” The leaders said they hoped to sign the pact on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month.Japanese equities were little changed Tuesday, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average inching up 0.1% to 22,001. U.S. stock futures declined early Tuesday in New York.U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said the limited trade deal will cover agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade. The USTR said on Monday it had no further comment and Trump provided no details about what was in the initial deal.Under an earlier proposal, Japan would cut tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, including beef, pork, dairy products, wine and ethanol. The U.S. would cut levies on some Japanese industrial products, but not on cars. Japanese media has reported that the sides had agreed to lower tariffs on U.S. beef and pork to levels offered to members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.Abe agreed to direct talks in September 2018 after Trump hit Japan’s steel and aluminum exports with tariffs and threatened to do the same on all imported cars, including those made in Japan.Trump earlier this year delayed a decision until November over whether to impose new levies of as high as 25% on imported vehicles over national security grounds to allow more time for talks with Japan and the European Union. He also agreed with Japan that there would be no new tariffs while trade talks continue.(Adds detail about rice in sixth paragraph, updates markets.)\--With assistance from Teo Chian Wei, Jon Herskovitz and Takashi Hirokawa.To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McGregor in Washington at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net;Jenny Leonard in Washington at jleonard67@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Murray at brmurray@bloomberg.net, Sarah McGregor, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Johnson’s Strategy Goes to U.K.’s Top Judges: Brexit Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy goes to the Supreme Court, as judges begin three days of hearings on his decision to suspend Parliament. It’s a landmark case that not only threatens to undermine his position as prime minister, but could also force him to recall the legislature, giving opponents of a no-deal Brexit more time to pass laws directing when or how the U.K. leaves the European Union.Key Developments:Hearings have begun in London and will last three days; court has not given ruling date; click here for a live streamClick here for profiles of the judgesLawyer who filed one of the challenges to Johnson’s strategy, Jolyon Maugham, told Bloomberg TV case has historic significancePound falls as much as 0.3%How Brexit Could Unleash a U.K. Constitutional Crisis: QuickTakeWhat Could the Court Verdict Look Like? (11:10 a.m.)Both the English and Scottish claimants are seeking a declaration that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen was unlawful and “null and void.”The prime minister said in his own legal filing that he intends to abide by any declaration made by the court. But his lawyers have left some wriggle room, arguing that the Scottish court didn’t have jurisdiction to make the order in the terms that it did, they said.In response, attorneys for the Scottish claimants called the government’s argument “unsustainable nonsense.” Meanwhile Gina Miller’s lawyers want the court to overturn the prorogation order directly.Supreme Court Defines Its Role (10:50 a.m.)Supreme Court President Brenda Hale opened the three-day hearing by reminding the room that the role of the judges is non-political and concerned solely at bringing sense to differing opinions from lower panels.“This is a serious and difficult question of law -- amply demonstrated by the fact that three senior judges in Scotland have reached a different conclusion to three senior judges in England,” she said. “The Supreme Court exists to resolve these difficult issues.”“The determination of this question will not determine when and how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union,” she continued.Scottish Lawyers Prepare for Another Suspension (10:25 a.m.)The lawyers for politicians in the Scottish challenge to Boris Johnson are already looking ahead to rumors that the prime minister might suspend Parliament again -- even closer to the Brexit deadline.“If a fresh decision is taken by the Executive to prorogue Parliament, that new decision will again be unlawful if and insofar as it is still taken for an unlawful purpose (stymieing parliamentary accountability),” lawyers said in their filing.The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Johnson’s office is considering another suspension as a way of getting around a law requiring the government to seek a Brexit extension if it can’t secure a divorce deal with Brussels. After his appearance on Bloomberg Television (see 9 a.m.), Jolyon Maugham said he’d also heard that might be the case.Lawyers File Preliminary Arguments (9:35 a.m.)The government told judges in its preliminary filing that when Parliament meets is a political issue, noting that prorogation -- effectively the suspension of the legislature -- has been recognized since 1707.The issue “is intrinsically one of high policy and politics, not law,” the government said in court filings posted on the Supreme Court website.Lawyers for Gina Miller, the businesswoman who previously sued to force then Prime Minister Theresa May to allow Parliament to vote on a key Brexit benchmark, argued that the five-week suspension hindered lawmakers’ oversight of the executive branch during a period when “time is very much of the essence.”The prime minister’s reasons to suspend Parliament were “infected by factors inconsistent with the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty, in particular his belief that Parliament does nothing of value at this time of year,” Miller’s lawyers said in their filing.Maugham: Brexit Opponents Mobilizing Against PM (9:15 a.m.)Opponents of a no-deal Brexit are discussing forming an emergency government if Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to get around the new law demanding he seek a Brexit extension if he can’t secure a divorce deal, lawyer Jolyon Maugham said in his Bloomberg Television interview (see 9 a.m.).Johnson has said he won’t ask for a delay to the 31 Oct. Brexit deadline, even though the Benn Act requires him to do so if he can’t negotiate a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.“I would not be surprised to see two goes at forming an emergency government,” he said. “One led by Jeremy Corbyn, and if that were to fail -- and one imagines it would -- another led by a more unifying cross-party figure.”Maugham Criticizes Johnson’s Strategy (9 a.m.)Jolyon Maugham, a London lawyer spearheading one of the cases in front of the Supreme Court, told Bloomberg television the case has historic significance.“Everyone who believes in democracy has to hope that I am going to succeed,” he said on Tuesday.If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the government, a prime minister would be able to suspend Parliament for an entire electoral period, he said.“That is an absolutely remarkable proposition that reduces parliamentary democracy to a husk,” Maugham said.Judiciary Must Be Respected, Buckland Says (Earlier)Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the “robust independence” of the judiciary must be respected whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court case. Some officials questioned the impartiality of the Scottish court, which ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.“We will examine the ruling very carefully and abide by the rule of law,” Buckland told the BBC on Tuesday. U.K. judges are “world class and world leading, and we must let them do their job.”Earlier:Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan Goes to Court With EU Talks in ChaosCan Boris Johnson Sell an All-Ireland Backstop to Save Brexit?Brexit Bulletin: The Dilemma of a Deal\--With assistance from Anna Edwards.To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net;Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net;Jessica Shankleman in London at jshankleman@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Anthony AaronsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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