Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

A long-sought trade pact with Japan was scrapped when Donald Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2019

Japanese officials cautious on prospects for US trade deal

  • A long-sought trade pact with Japan was scrapped when Donald Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017
  • Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal

TOKYO: Officials in Japan appeared wary over the prospects for a trade deal with the US after President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sign a pact soon.
Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said Tuesday that the two sides are still finalizing details after reaching a basic agreement in late August on trade in farm products, digital trade and other industries.
Suga said Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are considering signing a deal in late September when they attend the UN General Assembly in New York.
“We are accelerating the work that still remains,” he said. “But I decline to comment further because we have not reached a formal agreement.”
Trump’s notice to Congress, released by the White House on Monday, did not mention tariffs on autos and parts, long a sticking point between the two countries.
It said his administration was looking forward to collaborating with lawmakers on a deal that would result in “more fair and reciprocal trade” between the two countries.
Toshimitsu Motegi, who became foreign minister last week after negotiating the deal as economy minister, said Japan must watch carefully to prevent Washington from forcing any last-minute changes, Kyodo News agency reported.
The agricultural minister, Taku Eto, cautioned against letting down Tokyo’s guard until the final agreement is reached, it said.
A long-sought trade agreement with Japan was scrapped when Trump withdrew the US from a pan-Pacific trade agreement shortly after taking office in 2017.
Japan and the other 10 remaining members of the trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then renegotiated their own deal without the US
Trump said he preferred that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal.
That resurrected the longtime issue of tariffs on Japanese car and auto parts exports to the US and of stiffer duties on US exports of farm and other products to Japan.


Ivory Coast tourism attracts $5bn from Arab investors

Updated 22 October 2019

Ivory Coast tourism attracts $5bn from Arab investors

  • The tourism ministry said “a round table of investors in Dubai” expressed interest In Ivory Coast
  • The initiative, dubbed “Sublime Cote d’Ivoire” (Magnificent Ivory Coast), was launched in May

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast announced Tuesday that Arab investors had pledged $5 billion to support its program to attract foreign tourists to the West African nation.
The tourism ministry said “a round table of investors in Dubai” on Sunday and Monday expressed interest In Ivory Coast and in total, the minister for tourism and leisure, Siandou Fofana, “enlisted from them pledges worth just over $5 billion” (4.49 billion euros).
Ivory Coast’s charm offensive in the United Arab Emirates included a delegation with recently retired star footballer Didier Drogba and A’Salfo, lead singer with the pop group Magic System, who gave two concerts.
The initiative, dubbed “Sublime Cote d’Ivoire” (Magnificent Ivory Coast), was launched in May.
“Our goal is to become the fifth biggest destination for tourism in Africa by 2025,” Fofana said in the ministry’s statement.
If objectives are reached, tourism would account for 12 percent of GDP compared with 5.5 percent today, and jobs in the tourism sector would grow from 270,000, as of 2016, to 365,000.
The economy today is hugely dependent on rural earnings, especially cacao and coffee.
The plan is to attract tourists to the remote west of the country, a region of unspoiled mountains and beaches.