New round of talks with Japan
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Tuesday 18 April 1995
After the tepid reception for the latest economic package from Tokyo aiming to halt the rise in the yen, and the apparent failure of the Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, and his Japanese counterpart, Masayoshi Takemura, to agree on new measures to shore up the dollar during their weekend meeting, Washington is determined to extract real concessions on the trade front, with cars at the top of the list. The motor sector accounts for $37bn of the $60bn annual US deficit with Japan.
If the talks fail, the Clinton administration is threatening to impose new tariffs on imports from Japan.
For all the official talk of seeking "a strong dollar", Washington is widely suspected of wanting to drive the yen, which has climbed 20 per cent against the dollar, even higher. This would make Japanese goods more expensive abroad, and probably send the Japanese economy tumbling back into recession. Only then, argue US trade hardliners, will Tokyo move to open its markets.
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