Survey: Japanese Factories Brace for Possible US Tax on Imports

Japanese manufacturers are wary of a possible U.S. border tax, with just over half expecting profits to take a hit if the United States slaps a 20 percent levy on imports, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

In response, they are thinking of cutting costs, increasing production and procurement in the United States and raising U.S. product prices, but those steps would offset only some of the impact, the monthly Reuters Corporate Survey found.

The United States is the top destination for Japanese shipments. The House Republicans’ proposal to tax imports at 20 percent could hurt Japan’s vital automobile, electronics and other exporters.

“We’d have to consider setting up production facilities in the United States,” wrote a manager at a rubber company. “But in the longer term, it could lead to a shift away from the U.S. for the manufacturing industry as a whole.”

In the monthly survey, conducted March 7-21

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