NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Wednesday the start of trade negotiations between their two countries.
“We’ve agreed today to start trade negotiations between the United States and Japan,” Trump told reporters before his meeting with Abe in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
“This was something that, for various reasons over the years, Japan was unwilling to do, and now they are willing to do so. We’re very happy about that, and I’m sure that we’ll come to a satisfactory conclusion. And if we don’t, oh!” Trump said.
As with other countries and regions, the US President has criticized the trade deficit between the United States and Japan, which reached $68.87 billion in 2017, though 10 years before it was $84.3 billion.
Trump said earlier this month that the start of trade negotiations with Japan would soon take place, while the two governments held preliminary talks in Washington on Aug. 9.
On Wednesday, Trump and Abe signed a joint statement announcing the formal start of negotiations, “following the completion of necessary domestic procedures, for a United States-Japan Trade Agreement on goods, as well as on other key areas including services, that can produce early achievements.”
Once discussions on the agreement are completed, the US and Japan “also intend to have negotiations on other trade and investment items,” the joint statement says, which was released by the White House.
For the US, negotiations will be centered on ensuring that “market access outcomes in the motor vehicle sector” are “designed to increase production and jobs in the United States.”
Japan, for its part, has demanded “with regard to agricultural, forestry, and fishery products, outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan’s previous economic partnership agreements,” the statement adds.