WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday that trade talks with Japan were moving along nicely and it might be possible to reach a deal ahead of his visit to Japan in May.
Speaking at the start of a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said Japan was buying a large amount of military equipment from the United States and Washington is pressing Tokyo to get rid of its agricultural tariffs.
Abe told reporters at the White House he was looking forward to the trade discussions and underscored the importance of the ties between the two countries.
Japan has been resisting U.S. pressure to link trade with currency issues ahead of the talks between the two close allies. In addition to trade, they were expected to discuss North Korea and other issues of mutual interest.
Japanese ministers discussed trade and currency issues with their U.S. counterparts in Washington ahead of the summit between Abe and Trump, hoping to keep Washington from linking the issues.
Trump has made clear he is unhappy with Japan’s trade surplus with the United States – much of it from auto exports – and wants a two-way deal to change it.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)