US and Japan will hold the first round of their trade talks in Washington on April 15–16.
Lighthizer hosting Motegi
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will be hosting Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. President Donald Trump wants a two-way agreement to address a $69 billion Japan’s trade surplus with the US, where two-thirds of it is coming from auto exports.
Trump attack the Fed -again
Trump’s latest critique of the central bank, delivered by Twitter and without citing any evidence, came as ECB head Mario Draghi and other international officials worried that a Fed politicized by potential Trump nominees would shake a dollar-dependent global financial system.
Draghi expressed concern about the Fed’s independence, warning that a loss of its autonomy could undermine the credibility of policy.
IMF director Christine Lagarde said lower rates could weaken the dollar, boosting US exports. But it would make it harder for the BoJ to follow its own strategy and would undercut growth in Europe that the ECB is trying to support. Emerging markets could see destablizing capital flows.
Inter-party Brexit talks
UK Prime Minister May’s government and the opposition Labour Party held “constructive and positive” talks on Brexit, Labour spokesman John McDonnell said on Friday.
Pro-EU British Finance minister Philip Hammond said the idea of a second Brexit referendum is likely to be put again and many Labour lawmakers are pressing their leader to demand it in the ongoing talks. However, time is and government is opposed to a new public vote but remains open for a debate on customs union with the EU.
Mnuchin’s take on China deal
US-China trade agreement would go “way beyond” previous efforts to open China’s markets to US companies, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday, adding hopes that they were “close to the final round” of negotiations. He and Lighthizer will hold two calls this week with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and open a possibility to more in-person meetings to conclude a deal.
China’s March exports rose 14.2 percent from a year earlier, the strongest growth in five months beating expectations at 7.3 percent, after February’s 20.8 percent plunge. However, China’s imports fell 7.6 percent from a year earlier, more than expected, and worse than February’s 5.2 percent drop.