Trump to seek quick
progress with Japan's Abe on replacement trade deal
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[January 27, 2017]
By David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick
(Reuters) - President Donald Trump will seek quick progress toward a
bilateral trade agreement with Japan in place of a broader Asia-Pacific
deal he abandoned this week, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
visits the White House next month, an official in the Trump
administration said on Thursday.
"I see Abeís visit being more about finding a follow-through, a
replacement for TPP," said the official, referring to the Trans-Pacific
Partnership that Trump ditched on Monday.
"Given the domestic political capital (Abe has) expended on TPP, thereís
going to be an effort to work with him on a follow-on," the official
said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Trump, who took office last Friday, reiterated on Thursday he would
strike numerous bilateral deals, as opposed to multilateral accords like
the TPP. He said they would include clauses to allow a 30-day
termination notice if the United States was not treated fairly.
The TPP, which took years to negotiate among 12 countries, has often
been described as being, at its core, a deal between the United States
and Japan, the world's largest and third-largest economies respectively.
Trump called it bad for American jobs, but proponents worry that
abandoning the project could further strengthen China's economic hand in
Japanese media have said Abe is expected to meet Trump in Washington on
Feb. 10, although no official announcement has been made as to the
timing of the trip.
The administration official said it "was clear what the outlines and the
contours" of a deal with Japan would be, but did not go into details. "I
donít know if there needs to be this protracted long-term negotiation,
and there may be some initial steps that are implemented prior to an
official Free Trade Agreement," he said.
"Itís pretty clear what the problems are on the trade side and it's
pretty clear what the opportunities are. I donít think itíll be
particularly difficult to get some movement on a couple of different
aspects of the trade side relatively quickly."
[to top of second column]
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks next to a map showing
participating countries in rule-making negotiations for the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a news conference at his
official residence in Tokyo March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File
White House declined comment on the official's remarks. ďWe look forward to
Prime Minister Abeís upcoming visit and a productive relationship with Japan," a
White House official said.
has touted TPP as an engine of economic reform and a counterweight to a rising
China but said on Thursday it was possible Tokyo and Washington could hold
bilateral free trade talks.
"Japan will continue to stress to the U.S. the importance of the TPP but it is
not totally unfeasible for talks on EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) and FTA
(Free Trade Agreement)" with the United States, Abe told parliament after being
asked about trade talks between the two nations.
Japan's Kyodo news agency said Abe also suggested Japan would advocate retaining
some form of tariffs on rice and four other key agricultural products in any
trade negotiations with the United States.
"We will thoroughly protect what we should protect...I want to carry out
bilateral negotiations properly, based on the thinking that agriculture is the
foundation of this country," it quoted him as saying.
(Additional reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter
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