President Donald Trump suggested Friday that Japan would be in trouble if it failed to reach an agreement on trade with the United States, Reuters news agency reported.
«If we don’t make a deal with Japan, Japan knows it’s a big deal,» Trump was quoted by Reuters as saying, effectively pressuring Japan to take measures to cut the U.S. deficit with the country as part of efforts to achieve what he calls «fair» and «reciprocal» trade.
«Japan has already contacted us. They came last week,» he told journalists, without providing details.
Trade is likely to be a major topic when the leaders of the two countries meet around Sept. 25 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
The Trump administration has pushed Japan to start negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement, while Tokyo has repeatedly urged Washington to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-member regional FTA from which Trump withdrew the United States last year.
The administration has also accused Japan of maintaining nontariff barriers for its automobile market while criticizing high import tariffs for foreign farm products.
Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars and parts. If he follows through, the new duties would significantly impact major car exporters such as Japan.
Referring to simmering trade disputes with China, Trump said Friday a planned imposition of tariffs on an additional $ 200 billion in Chinese imports «could take place very soon.»
The administration has imposed duties on a total of $ 50 billion in Chinese goods, with Beijing retaliating with tariffs on an equal value of U.S. goods.
Including the additional $ 200 billion worth of Chinese products, the United States would be taxing about half of the goods it imports from China each year.
However, Trump suggested he could do more to push for changes in Beijing’s «unfair» trade practices.
«Now we’ve added another $ 200 billion. And I hate to say that, but behind that, there’s another $ 267 billion ready to go on short notice if I want,» he said. «That totally changes the equation.»
Trump has demanded that China improve market access and intellectual property protections for American companies, remove industrial subsidies and cut its massive and chronic trade surplus with the United States.
All — Kyodo News+