Donald Trump to welcome Japan’s Shinzo Abe to the White House

Donald Trump to welcome Japan’s Shinzo Abe to the White House

Japan’s Shinzo Abe will meet Donald Trump at the White House today to discuss trade and efforts to contain North

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Photo: Reuters

Japan’s Shinzo Abe will meet Donald Trump at the White House today to discuss trade and efforts to contain North Korea’s nuclear program.

US and Japanese negotiators began a second round of trade talks in Washington on Thursday. Delegates are aiming to strike a timely deal on trade in agricultural and automotive commodities.

Both sides have different trade objectives. The US is hoping to reduce its trade deficit with Japan and gain increased access to its agricultural market. Japan is looking to secure a concrete promise from the US that it will not be hit with tariffs on auto imports. Last year, similar duties were imposed on steel and aluminium.

While striking a quid pro quo may be possible for both sides, the potential agreement has been complicated by pressure from American farmers. In a letter this week to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, 90 agricultural organisations expressed concerns about Japan cutting tariffs for the second time on the EU and some Asia-Pacific countries.

Therefore, trade representatives of the Trump Administration face a dilemma. They want Japan to liberalise its agricultural market, but, at the same time, they face domestic pressures to encourage Japan to re-impose tariffs. Accomplishing these objectives is not necessarily mutually exclusive, but will require careful negotiation.

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