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Trump to seek action on deficit

By Takanori Yamamoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent WASHINGTON — In a bid to reduce his country’s trade deficit, U.S. President Donald Trump plans to urge Japan, China, South Korea and other countries to further open their markets.

Reduction of the deficit is a top priority for the president. The Japanese government is increasingly on alert for such a request, as bilateral trade negotiations with the United States would be disadvantageous to Japan.

During a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Trump expressed irritation with the United States’ trade ties with countries he will visit on his trip to Asia, and slammed all U.S. trade deals as “disastrous.” He also indicated his willingness to review trade agreements and engage in trade negotiations with individual countries.

The U.S. trade deficit between January and September was about $585 billion (about ¥67 trillion), up roughly 7 percent from the same period last year. Trump believes that jobs in the United States are stolen through the import of cheap foreign products.

In early October, the United States forced South Korea to accept a renegotiation of the free trade agreement between the two countries by suggesting it might cancel the deal. There are fears that the success of this tactic against South Korea may embolden the United States to act aggressively toward other nations.

The United States is expected to ask for Japan’s cooperation in reducing the U.S. trade deficit. There is growing dissatisfaction in the United States, particularly in the livestock industry, that the country’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has put U.S. exporters at a competitive disadvantage in Japan.

During the mid-October Japan-U.S. economic dialogue, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence showed strong interest in a bilateral free trade agreement between the two countries.

The United States also intends to urge China, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the U.S. trade deficit, to resolve issues concerning restrictions on investment in foreign financial institutions, as well as the overproduction of steel.Speech

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