Trump says he’s pushing for ‘much better trade’ deal with Japan


President Trump said Saturday he is pushing for a “much better trade” deal between the U.S. and Japan, after a conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 

Trump tweeted that the nation’s current trade deficit with Japan is neither “fair or sustainable,” though he appeared to severely exaggerate the U.S. trade deficit with the country. Trump said he discussed “opening up Japan to much better trade with the U.S.” 

The U.S. had a $68.8 billion trade deficit for goods with Japan for 2017, but the overall trade deficit figure is expected to drop when taking into account trading of services. In 2016, for example, the U.S. had a surplus of over $14 billion for services traded.


While Trump didn’t explicitly mention new U.S. tariffs in his tweet Saturday, leaders from other countries have raced to secure exceptions after Trump signed a proclamation this week to impose steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. 

Trump tweeted Friday that he had similarly spoken with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about trade, saying he’s working on a “security agreement” with Australia that would allow for the country to be exempted from the new tariffs.

The president’s assurance to Japan that the situation will “work out” comes after the White House offered exemptions to Canada and Mexico, the two other nations party to the North American Free Trade Agreement, shortly after implementing the tariffs. 

Canada, Mexico and Japan are among the top steel exporters to the U.S., while the U.S. has maintained an overall trade surplus with Australia.

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