During the first leg of his trip to Asia, President Donald Trump reiterated his intention of signing a bilateral trade deal with Japan, suggesting that negotiations have dragged on for longer than he would like, The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to Trump, for the U.S., “trade with Japan is neither fair nor open.”
“Our trade with Japan is not free, and it’s not reciprocal, and I know it will be. We’ve started the process and it’s gone on for a long time. And I know that we will be able to come up with trade deals and trade concepts that are going to be fair to both countries, and I think actually will be better for both countries.” Trump said.
However, Trump didn’t say exactly how he would like to narrow the trade deficit with Japan, which totaled nearly $70 billion last year for goods and services, roughly the same as in 2015, The Journal notes.
The Journal adds that Japan was a strong advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed trade deal linking the U.S. and Asian nations. However, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the TPP this year. The TPP would have opened Japanese agricultural markets to the U.S. and tightened intellectual property rules to benefit drug and technology companies, while attempting to establish an economic bloc to challenge China’s influence in the region. But bipartisan critics of the pact worried that the deal would have done little to protect vulnerable U.S. industries or promote job creation, The Journal writes.