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Trump stirs concerns of return to Japan-U.S. trade friction

Tokyo, Nov. 6 (Jiji Press)–Visiting U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sparked concerns of a return to trade friction between the United States and Japan, expressing his frustration over his country’s chronic trade deficit with the Asian country.

“We seek equal and reliable access for American exports to Japan’s markets in order to eliminate our chronic trade imbalances and deficits with Japan,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following their talks in Tokyo.

The remark appeared to be a surprise for many on the Japanese side, who had been optimistic about the Abe-Trump summit’s coverage of bilateral trade issues. Before the summit, a senior economy official said, “We have no worry” about trade issues.

The Japanese and U.S. governments will continue talks on bilateral trade in a new economic dialogue scheme launched earlier this year. “The next session must be tough,” a Japanese government source said.

The United States’ trade deficit with Japan came to about 68.8 billion dollars in 2016, the second-largest figure after the China total of 347 billion dollars.

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