Washington, April 19: The US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he is negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with Japan and that his country would only re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if its member countries offered him a deal he could not refuse.
“I don’t want to go back into TPP. But if they offered us a deal I can’t refuse on behalf of the US, I would do it. In the meantime, we are negotiating, and what I really would prefer is negotiating a one-on-one deal with Japan,” Donald Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. However, Abe stressed his country’s position towards the TPP, saying that it “is the best for both countries,” although he acknowledged the US’s interest in a bilateral trade deal, Efe reported.
Trump said that should his country reach a trade agreement with Japan, there will be talks about the possibility of ending tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a move that Washington introduced in March to a number of countries, including Japan. Trump added that his primary concern at the moment is the “massive” trade deficit with Japan, which amounted to “from $69 billion to $100 billion a year.”
The two leaders made these announcements in a joint press conference at the tycoon’s private club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Abe arrived on Tuesday to have meeting with Trump on his four-day visit to the US. Last week, the White House announced that Trump had asked the US foreign trade representative Robert Lighthizer and the economic adviser Larry Kudlow to “take another look at whether or not a better deal (with the TPP) could be negotiated.” However, Trump has shown little interest in negotiations that would further complicate the matter, since the other 11 countries that negotiated the original TPP, with the then Barack Obama administration, have already signed their own multilateral deal, the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11. (IANS)