Trump, Japan's Abe agree to intensify trade talks

Trump, Japan
# 19 April 2018 04:26 (UTC +04:00)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday they had agreed to intensify trade consultations between the two longtime allies, with an aim to expand investment and trade between their countries, APA reports quoting Reuters.

“President Trump and I agreed to start talks for free, fair and reciprocal trade deals,” Abe said at a joint news conference with Trump.

Trump reaffirmed his desire at the news conference to address trade imbalances with Japan, saying he preferred one-on-one talks to negotiate a bilateral deal aimed at trimming the U.S. trade deficit.

Japanese stocks rallied to a seven-week high, partly due to relief that Trump did not mention the value of the yen or criticize Japan’s monetary policy.

While the leaders said they had agreed to have top advisers pursue talks, Abe made clear that differences remained in each country’s approach.

“On the U.S. side, they are interested in a bilateral deal,” Abe told reporters. “Our country’s position is that TPP is the best for both of our countries,” he added, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

The TPP was sought by former Democratic President Barack Obama. Trump abandoned it during his first weeks in office, saying it was not a good deal for the United States.

“I don’t want to go back into TPP, but if they offered us a deal that I can’t refuse on behalf of the United States, I would do it,” Trump said.

“But I like bilateral better. I think it’s better for our country. I think it’s better for our workers, and I much would prefer a bilateral deal, a deal directly with Japan,” he added.

The next task is for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to lead talks on trade and reach a conclusion that is agreeable to both sides.

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