Trump presses Japanese PM Abe to even out trade imbalance
US President also says US not ready to make a deal with China
TOKYO US President Donald Trump pressed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday to even out a trade imbalance with the US and also said Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing just yet.
Mr Trump told a news conference with Mr Abe after their summit that his goal was to remove trade barriers to put US exports on a fair footing in Japan.
He said he hoped to have more to announce on trade very soon and said he and Mr Abe had agreed to expand cooperation in human space exploration.
"We have an unbelievably large imbalance, as you know, trade imbalance with Japan for many, many years, Japan having the big advantage," Mr Trump said.
"They are brilliant business people, brilliant negotiators, and put us in a very tough spot. But I think we will have a deal with Japan," he added.
Mr Abe, for his part, said the two leaders had agreed to speed up trade talks but dodged a question about timing.
Mr Trump, who is on a four-day state visit to Japan meant to showcase the Japan-US alliance, said on Twitter on Sunday that he expected big moves on trade would wait until after Japan's upper house election in July.
"Trade-wise, I think we'll be announcing some things, probably in August, that will be very good for both countries," Mr Trump said yesterday at the start of the talks.
"We'll get the balance of trade, I think, straightened out rapidly."
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters there was no agreement to reach a trade deal by August.
Mr Abe, who has developed a warm relationship with Mr Trump since the US leader came to office, stressed the closeness of ties.
"This visit of President Trump and Madame Trump is a golden opportunity to clearly show the unshakeable bond to the whole world and inside Japan as well," Mr Abe told the news conference.
Earlier, Mr Trump was greeted by Emperor Naruhito and his Harvard-educated wife at the imperial palace in a formal welcome ceremony broadcast live.
Mr Trump is the first foreign dignitary to be received by the monarch since the latter inherited the throne after his father, Akihito, stepped down on April 30 in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in two centuries.
Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako hosted a six-course state dinner yesterday for Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, and dozens of guests, many of whom were dressed in tuxedos or colourful kimonos.
Mr Trump spoke about China on his trip as well. Both countries have imposed multi-billion dollar tariffs in a tit-for-tat trade war.
Mr Trump told the news conference that Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing but he expected one in future.
"I believe that we will have a very good deal with China sometime in the future," he said.
"Because I don't believe that China can continue to pay these really hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs." - REUTERS
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