CONGRESS/JAPAN/TRADE DEALS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The Japanese space agency recently landed a spacecraft on a miniscule asteroid traveling nearly 14,000 miles per hour relative to Earth. Many observers have concluded that it will take a similar feat to land the U.S.-Japan trade agreement negotiations expected to kick off in the next several weeks. Congress and the private sector have been pushing for a traditional, comprehensive agreement covering all trade topics. Skeptics note that such a comprehensive agreement would involve tough issues like currency manipulation that could make for a drawn-out and difficult landing, and any such deal would need congressional approval to take effect. But what if the Trump administration has in mind a staged approach that would avoid the need for congressional approval in the first stage? There are growing signs that the administration might be considering this approach as a way to address its most pressing political need—assuaging President Donald Trump’s agricultural base, which has been buffeted by retaliation for Trump’s metals and China tariffs and by lost opportunities due to his withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership. While it may prove tempting for the administration to harvest short-term political gains from a narrow trade deal with Japan centered on agriculture, I believe there could be significant costs to U.S. interests and the global trading system long term.”

Bruce Hirsh, “Trump’s plan to bypass Congress on trade with Japan,” Politico, April 2, 2019 5:07 am