TOKYO (majirox news) — Talk about trading places. Japan is running a trade deficit of electronic goods, including TVs, mobile phones and white goods, according to an article called “Goodbye ‘Made In Japan,’ Hello Trade Deficit?” published Nov. 2 by the Nikkei, Japan’s leading newspaper.
Added to that, Toyota just announced that it would begin exporting minivans from the U. S. to South Korea and stop exporting the same model from Japan.
“Given the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between the U.S. and Korea, where the cars would be subject to zero tariffs and that South Koreans drive on the left side as the U.S., there is little advantage in exporting from Japan,” read a Japanese newspaper.
Toyota will export the Sienna minivan, built in Princeton, Indiana, to South Korea. Plans are only to export about 50 vans a month, however Toyota in the South Korean auto market, unlike in Japan and the U.S., is a relatively minor player.
However, over the years, Toyota has slowly emerged as a major automobile exporter from the U.S. Since exporting from the U.S. in 1988, yearly exports of U.S. made Toyotas have now grown to 100,000 cars. With the addition of South Korea, Toyota will now be exporting U.S. made Toyotas to 19 countries throughout the world.
With the changing exchange rates, falling automobile consumption in Japan, evolving consumer tastes and the way that Japan has shut itself out of major world free trade blocs more automobile production is shifting from Japan. Additionally, world trade patterns in cars are slowly beginning to show signs of changing.
“Toyota’s North American operations are constantly working to identify and expand new export opportunities for vehicles we produce here,” said Yoshimi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motors North America Inc. “With this development and other possible achievements in the future, we hope to continue boosting exports from our North American operations.”