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Toyota president says he had ‘good discussion’ with Abe

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe had a “good discussion” and “exchanged ideas over various current situations” in their meeting Friday, the executive told reporters here the same evening.

 

The meeting came a week before the first Abe-Trump summit in Washington on Feb. 10, where bilateral trade will likely be a key topic. Toyoda and Abe apparently discussed how Japan should respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade demands.

 

When asked by reporters what Toyoda and Abe talked about when discussing Trump, Toyoda only said, “I expressed my daily gratitude and explained the current situation [to Abe].” Asked if they discussed job creation in the U.S., Toyoda merely repeated the same words.

 

Toyota and other Japanese automakers are among those at risk of taking a hit from Trump’s protectionist policies. The U.S. president has criticized Japanese automobile trade practices as “unfair,” and has called for a correction of the U.S. trade deficit with Japan. He blasted Toyota over its plans to build a new plant in Mexico.

 

Meanwhile, Toyota has announced plans to invest $10 billion over the next five years in the U.S., and said it will expand capacity at a plant in Indiana by 40,000 vehicles annually and add 400 new workers starting in 2019.

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