President Trump is holding a series of meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Friday, as the US and Japan attempt to reach a trade deal. Trump had emphasized the speed at which he expects the talks to move forward by saying that a deal could be signed by the time he comes to Japan in May.
"We have a very big trade negotiation going on right now with Japan", Trump said.
They get along so well that Abe and his wife, Akie, joined Trump and his wife, Melania, for a couples' dinner Friday in the White House residence to celebrate the US first lady's 49th birthday.
Abe has stressed the two men's shared interest in golf as he's become one of the few global leaders to build a personal relationship with Trump. The two leaders, however, disagreed on the tariff issue.
Matthew Goodman, senior vice president and senior adviser for Asian economics at the CSIS, said both Trump and Abe had "an incentive to try to get a quick deal".
Japan, which formalised the trade agreement a year ago with the remaining 11 nations, initially refused to strike a separate deal with the USA, insisting that it should instead return to the pact.
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His remarks are apparently aimed at proceeding with the trade negotiations that will go into full swing in favor of Japan. "Maybe I didn't get her so much".
But Motegi, speaking after the meeting, said Trump did not demand Japan cut tariffs on American farm products beyond levels it has agreed in other trade pacts, such as a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership and a free-trade agreement with the European Union.
Japan - the world's third largest economy - only reluctantly agreed to the talks with the U.S.as a way to stave off tariffs that Trump has threatened to impose on imported autos. Japan's exports to China fell 9.4% from a year earlier, although exports to the United States rose 4.4%, exacerbating the politically sensitive trade surplus. I feel thrilled to invite President Trump as our first state guest.
In regard to the G20 summit in June in Osaka, the two leaders agree to closely cooperate to work toward building consensus on main agendas.
"I don't want to talk about that now", the president said. "But it's moving along very nicely, we'll see what happens", he added.
"The problem is that both of those things require the respective legislatures to act - the Diet in Japan and Congress in the U.S. And that's not easy at any time", he said.