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Trump threatens allies with reciprocal tariffs

Jiji PressWASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — U.S. President Donald Trump expressed willingness Monday to impose “a reciprocal tax” against countries having a trade surplus with the United States, including allies such as Japan.

Meeting with state and local officials at the White House, Trump voiced frustration over wide trade gaps not only with China but U.S. allies.

“We lose vast amounts of money with China and Japan and South Korea and so many other countries,” Trump said. “Some of them are so-called ‘allies,’ but they’re not allies on trade.”

Complaining about some countries charging “50 and 75 percent” taxes on goods from the United States, Trump stressed he cannot tolerate such “unfair” tariffs. “So we’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax,” the president said. “And you’ll be hearing about that during the week and during the coming months.”

The envisaged tax will be charged against countries “that take advantage of the United States,” Trump noted, adding that the tariff policy change will be “a little tough” for such countries as the three major Asian trade partners.

If the Trump administration actually implements the punitive tax as well as steel trade-related sanctions also under consideration at present, these protectionist measures will likely affect Japan, whose trade surplus with the United States topped ¥7.3 trillion in 2017, observers said.Speech

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