Trade Agreement: Trump Finishes Japan Visit
TRADE AGREEMENT – US President Donald Trump just finished his four-day visit to Japan on Tuesday. This went down amid the uncertain outlook over whether the two countries could hammer out a trade deal within months.
During the trip, Trump had indicated that announcements from both sides could come “probably in August.” He had also said that the trade gap between the two countries could be “straightened out rapidly.”
However, for the Japanese trade minister, a quick deal between the US and Japan isn’t very likely.
“When you look at the exact wording of his comments, you can see that the president was voicing his hopes of swift progress in talks toward something that is mutually beneficial,” said Toshimitsu Motegi during a cabinet meeting.
The US sports a trade deficit of $67.6 billion in goods with Japan in 2018, according to the office of the US Trade Representative.
Trump has also indicated that he wants to substantially decrease the trade imbalance between the two countries.
In recent months, the US and Japan have been locking horns over tariffs on automobiles and agricultural products for months.
“Optically, I think the trip went off as well as either side could have expected,” said a senior advisor for Asian economics Matthew Goodman from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He had also added that a trade agreement could be hammered, but it wouldn’t be as quick as August.
Narrowing the Deficit
Goodman added that he thinks Trump was trying to tell Japan he wouldn’t put pressure on Prime Minister Abe ahead of the upper-house elections in Japan this coming July.
On the other hand, disagreements over agriculture and automobiles still persist. This means that issues will probably take a longer time to be resolved, he added.
Motegi said last week that there were still differences between the two sides.
“We’ve agreed that we’ll strive to narrow the gap, including through possibly holding working-level talks,” said Motegi. He had added that no timeline had been set yet for the talks.
Although the Japan visit had been relatively uneventful for US and Japan, it had been a key occasion for stock traders who were seeking hints over Washington’s trade dispute with Beijing.
Trump had said that the US was “not ready” to make a deal with China. He later said that he expected a trade deal in the future, still providing no clarity over the near-term outlook of the US-China trade dispute.
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