Trump, Abe Agree On Need For New Trade Deal, Disagree About Everything Else

President Donald Trump's second Mar-a-Lago summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been replete with memorable moments that appeared to underscore the harmonious relationship between the two leaders.

Instead of sharing a slice of chocolate cake (like he did with Chinese President Xi Jinping), Trump hit the links with Abe...

Trump

And despite their warm body language and insistence on the valuable partnership between their two nations - along with Abe's effusive praise of Trump's handling of the North Korea crisis - when the subject turned to trade, the responses from the two leaders became considerably more muddled.

Japan

While both leaders expressed a desire to work together on a trade, Trump stuck to his administration's line about preferring bilateral agreements, while Abe said Japan is still urging the US to rejoin the TPP, which Trump famously pulled out of during his first week in office.

"The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal -- very important word -- trade. And we’re committed to pursuing a bilateral trade agreement that benefits both of our great countries," Trump said during a joint press conference with Abe at the end of a two-day summit at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort.

Abe responded by saying "I am aware of U.S. interest in a bilateral deal. But we want to approach the discussions from the point of view that the TPP is best for both of the countries," referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that Trump pulled the U.S. out of in his first week in office.

Japan is the US's fourth-largest trading partner, swapping $200 billion in goods and services annually. In 2017, the US ran a $70 billion deficit, which Trump decried as "not fair".

As Bloomberg points out, despite their mutual amity, Abe and Trump have made what appears to be zero progress on trade...

The dispute between the two allies is fundamentally about how they see that status quo on trade. Trump is pushing for an agreement that would reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, while Abe is basically seeking a return to the situation before Trump became president -- with the U.S. leading TPP, and no extra tariffs on metals that Trump announced last month.

...And this fact hasn't been lost on diplomats and others. One former ambassador even called the agreement "a little incomprehensible."

"Was there really an agreement on a trade deal? Was it the same as an FTA? Or was it some deals in some sectors? We have to watch and see," Ichiro Fujisaki said on Bloomberg TV. "From a Japanese point of view, just to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum, which are not huge exports from Japan, doesn’t balance out with a new trade FTA."

To be sure, there have been some signs of progress on the trade subject - though they've been fairly small and remote.

The Motegi-Lighthizer discussions will be part of the current economic dialogue between the two nations. That was announced in February 2017 just after Trump came into office, and is led by Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence.

It has met twice, and while it hasn’t produced major results, it has resolved some outstanding trade issues. After the second meeting last October, restrictions on Japanese persimmons and U.S. potatoes were removed, and Japan promised to streamline some auto testing procedures.

But complicating factors abound. Probably the biggest is whether Trump even grasps the subtleties of the various paths laid out before him.

Earlier this week, Trump tweeted that "While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States..."

However, South Korea isn't a part of the TPP - and it never was.

Which begs the question: Is Trump's rhetoric about possibly returning to the TPP "if we can get a deal" just an entree toward the US's inevitable reentry?

With China continuing to slap tariffs on US goods (most recently on imports of sorghum), the trade spat between the world's two largest economies is still simmering. Perhaps the administration is coming around to the idea that it might be in the US's interest to rejoin a free-trade framework that would, if nothing else, at least counter China's expansionary interests.

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Comments

peopledontwanttruth PrayingMantis Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

With more and more "trade" spats arising, even among allies.  I believe this will continue to increase even with countries realizing it's detrimental to the overall "globalist economy" they've built up based upon the NWO philosophy.  

As this isolationist attitude takes over and trading among family prevails    We will see the elites control over humanity lose its grip   Currency of money will come to a standstill and what gave the elitist their power will be over   There's no NWO coming instead we will see governmental leaders try to save their own throats and only expidite the demise of globalization through WTO or the UN   Gone will be IMF the World Bank and others in their pursuit of protectionism   

It will speed up as it is already 

Blood is thicker than water 

In reply to by PrayingMantis

Expendable Container CashMcCall Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:43 Permalink

That's because the Jewnited States IS a mob syndicate which controls all MSM, unholywood, all central banks thus their governments (including that private bank the Federal Reserve), all foreign policy, all wars......and to hide their guilt in the coming financial collapse government Sachs needs war to blame it on....now go back to sleep.

1980's movie "The Live" tried to warn us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEa6-hahYds

In reply to by CashMcCall

Giant Meteor gatorengineer Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

Well that was the supposed genius of it ..

Joining those two words together ..

A.K.A telling folks what they WANT to hear ..

Nothing to do with truth ..

Think of it this way ..

How often have you heard in the psychobabble, new age, reality TV, Dr.Phil / Oprification nation, "welllll there is your truth, and there is my truth"?

See, if THAT were true, in reality there is no truth, ie; just make it up as one goes along ..

Now you have a good grasp for the basis of the made up term "truthful hyperbole" which is of course, a non sequitor, a way of stating something is really a lie.

In reply to by gatorengineer

Giant Meteor Got The Wrong No Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:24 Permalink

Frankly I don't identify with the alt left, alt right, huffpoo, media matters, truthful hyperbole, reality tv, washington D.C, cable news, the national security state, or slate.

Truth hating clown factory?

Neo CONS, NEO liberals ... two sides same coin. And yes, Mr. Trump tapped into the "reality" of the situation for a good many plebians, who year over year saw themselves going further and further behind .. lost jobs, lost wages, lost industries, lost dreams, lost hope .. as put forth in the brilliant inaugural that he did not write.

Controlled opposition, that is both teams, symbiotic relationship with the national security , military industrial, totally ramped up on the heels of the event now known as 9/11 (a marketing coup in an of itself), purdy much called the ball. Global finance. The FIRE sector and it's servants, burning it down to the waterline.

And now the onion gets peeled back, layer by layer, revealing the sham. It was inevitable. Trump the perfect symbol of the failed state, and it's statecraft, statecraft that is based upon continued subservience to the money powers.

Nothing more, nothing less ..

Both teams peddling their wares, their versions 24/7 on the cable tv circuit and various other government controlled mediums, talking heads, paid mouthpieces .. and let us not forget, "industry leaders."

The good news (at least for now) one can put their thoughts down, accept, reject, refute, put forth the way they might see it, for others to consider or not.

Things are going to have to take their course, and it is fairly much guaranteed, a mathmatical certainty, the purposely divided citzenry on balance will not be pleased with outcomes ..

Sure, some will be entertained with the usual tricks and sleights of hand, or claim to be a member in good standing in one of the false opposition camps, but in the end it must be remembered, the good guys, if they've ever truly existed, have already lost.

At least that's the way I see it ..

In reply to by Got The Wrong No

Vendetta ExPat2018 Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:25 Permalink

Is Tony Blair still treated wonderfully and with respect and gathering all of his loot ‘making deals’ over there on the other side of the ‘pond’ ?  Send them all to The Hague fir war crimes ... oh wait ... the ICC is also a worthless entity just like the nobel prize committee giving obama a peace prize for continuing pushing neoconservative policies and following the PNAC doctrine 

In reply to by ExPat2018

Davidduke2000 Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:52 Permalink

I get disgusted when I see a japanese leaders sucking up to the country that destroyed two major cities to the ground and made them radioactive for 5000 generations.

250,000 people died in the initial impact of the atomic bombs and another 250,000 died after, plus all the people who are born with serious defects.

I would have put a target on the yanks if if it takes 2000 years if I was a japanese.

Pliskin Davidduke2000 Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

I've spent some time in Japan, I sold my business to a Japanese company, I met my wife in Japan and once a year we visit friends in Osaka (She's Chinese her husband is Japanese)  I can tell ya, the folks on the street, your 'average Jo' over there HATE the Americans!

Yes, the leaders (and I use this term VERY loosely) do indeed suck up to any and ALL U.S. presidents, and that is the case with LOTS of countries around the globe!

I,personally, don't hate/dislike Americans (It can be fun to wind them up here on ZH) I had the time of my life when I lived in the U.S.  Great friends, great times, great memories!  Now I live in China, my two best friends are from Boston and Cali!! 

The hate that is fermented in this world is done by the leaders and their 'paymasters' to further their agenda!  Only a clown could not see this!

 

Anyhoo!  Keep posting the truth DD2000!  Am I right in assuming you live in Dongbei?  Just get a feeling??

 

In reply to by Davidduke2000

Expendable Container Davidduke2000 Thu, 04/19/2018 - 14:21 Permalink

The Jewnited States' censored atrocities against the Japanese in WWII have been researched into a revealing book by author Thomas Goodrich. The reason there are so few Japanese eyewitness accounts recorded after WWII are because the US went from island to island and slaughtered every Japanese soldier who tried to surrender - so those witnessing this and atrocities against them, fought to death.

The US soldiers removed all the gold teeth (dead or alive prisoners) as the Japanese trend was gold fillings. Heads were removed and placed on antheaps so the skulls could be collected as trophies. Bones trimmed as letter openers - FDR loved his.

Only a small number of Japanese were kept alive and taken prisoner (no doubt for some nefarious purpose). The Book: "Summer 1945: Germany, Japan and the Harvest of Hate".

(AFTER the war 1.2 million ordinary German POWs were slowly murdered, no food no shelter and starved to death purposely by EISENHOWER, mass murdering war criminal).

Here Thomas Goodrich is interviewed about it by Andrew Carrington Hitchcock:

http://eurofolkradio.com/2018/03/29/the-andrew-carrington-hitchcock-sho…

In reply to by Davidduke2000

Vendetta Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:58 Permalink

What trump has done has let more American workers realize that trade deficits DO matter ...  and the political and corporate establishment in the US don’t want American workers to THINK about it ... we already know the press will never have intelligent or unbiased discussion about it .. like many free trade trolls on this site and all over the place 

Chief Joesph Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:02 Permalink

If Trump couldn't agree with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, (our ally against North Korea), how can you logically expect Trump to reach an agreement with Kim Jung-un in their upcoming talks?  It simply won't happen.  Trump doesn't know the first thing about negotiations.