Donald Trump and Japan PM agreed two-way trade talks

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Vastavam web: U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Wednesday to start trade talks in an arrangement that, for now, protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs, seen as a major threat to the export-dependent economy. In a joint statement, the two countries said the talks “will respect positions of the other government,” drawing lines on autos and Japan’s agriculture sector.

Trump has made clear he is unhappy with Japan’s $69 billion trade surplus with the United States nearly two-thirds of it from auto exports and wants a two-way agreement to address it. Abe said the billions of dollars in investments and jobs created by Japanese companies in the United States were built on the spirit of free trade, and that Trump had affirmed this view at their meeting. Any measures to restrict trade, he said, would be harmful.

“We must by no means turn back the clock,” he told a news conference following his meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. “In fact, we need to be more active in trade investments to build on this relationship.” For Trump’s part, he said he was “happy” to have gotten Japan to agree to bilateral trade talks and expected a “satisfactory conclusion”. “This was something that for various reasons over the years Japan was unwilling to do and now they are willing to do,” Trump said at a summit with Abe in New York.