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Ambassador: Trump urges Japan’s Abe to build more cars in US

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US President Donald Trump pressed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to have Japanese automakers produce more vehicles in the US, according to a readout of their recent meeting provided by the US ambassador to Japan on Saturday.

The two discussed recent public announcements by Japanese car makers, including Toyota Motor's decision to invest more in US plants.

"We talked about the need to see more movement in that direction but I think the President feels positive we will see such movement because all the economics support that,"said Ambassador William Hagerty.

Mr Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Saturday that Mr Abe said Japan would invest US$40 billion (S$55 billion) in US car factories.

Toyota, Japan's largest automaker, said last month it would exceed a 2017 pledge to invest US$10 billion over five years with a new commitment to reach nearly US$13 billion over that period.

Mr Trump has prodded Japanese automakers to add more jobs in the US as the White House threatens to impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on imported vehicles, on the grounds of national security.

Mr Trump on Friday said it is possible that the US and Japan could reach a new bilateral trade deal by the time he visits Tokyo in May, but he and Mr Abe cited areas where they differ on trade.

"We want to ensure that the US has trading terms with Japan that are no less favourable than any other nation," Mr Hagerty said in a phone call with reporters.

He added that Mr Trump is planning to attend the summit of the Group of 20 industrialised nations set to take place in Osaka, Japan, in June.

Separately, Mr Trump was optimistic trade talks with China would be successful, the ambassador said. - REUTERS