President Donald Trump on Monday said that there had been a “tremendous imbalance” of trade between the US and Japan and that the two countries were working to bridge the gap.
Despite the friendly disposition between the leaders, Trump stressed that the US was not pleased with its nearly $60 billion trade deficit with Japan. Trump has threatened to impose higher tariffs on imports of Japanese auto parts unless the two nations can iron out the difference.
“There’s been a tremendous imbalance and we’re working on that,” Trump said, adding that the US needed to “do a little catching up with Japan.”
“They have been doing much more business with us — we’d like to do a little bit more business in the reverse. We’ll get the balance of trade I think straightened out rapidly.”
Trump made statements about trade, as well as North Korea and Iran, during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday ahead of their bilateral meeting. The president also met with Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, earlier in the day and took a selfie with Abe as part of his four-day state visit to Japan aimed at showing off the strong relationship between the two nations.
Trump also said a trade announcement would most likely be announced in August, though he did not elaborate on the details.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration delayed threatened auto tariffs by up to six months amid negotiations on a trade deal with the European Union and Japan on what the US has framed as an issue of national security.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a tweet on Friday that the EU “ completely rejects” the US assertion that European car exports pose a national security threat and that the EU was “fully prepared to negotiate” a limited trade agreement.
According to the US Office of the Trade Representative, Japan was America’s fourth-largest goods trade partner in 2018. On Saturday, Trump told Japanese business leaders in Tokyo that Japan had a “ substantial advantage” in trade but that the two nations were moving to bridge the gap.
Later, Trump expressed optimism that a trade deal could be reached with Japan and also with China.
“I think we will have a deal with Japan, likewise I think we will have a deal with China,” he said.
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