The Trump administration is optimistic about concluding a trade deal with Japan, which may be formally announced this month, said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are scheduled to hold a one-on-one meeting Sept. 25 during the UN General Assembly in New York, Kudlow said Tuesday.
“There just might be an announcement at the United Nations,” Kudlow told the U.S.-Japan Business Conference in Washington. “You can never tell, but I’m an optimist.”
Trump on Monday said that his administration had struck a partial trade accord with Japan on tariff barriers and digital trade, and the sides are expected to enter into the agreement in the “coming weeks.”
The president, however, didn’t make clear whether he’d end the threat of slapping steep auto tariffs on Japan -- a key reason that Tokyo wanted to negotiate with the U.S. from the outset of talks that began last year.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, the country’s point man for the trade talks, said on Tuesday that Tokyo wanted the Trump administration to end the threat of new auto tariffs before agreeing to a final trade deal. “We are aware of the internal process that is going on in the U.S. and the president’s notice of the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations,” Motegi told reporters in Tokyo.
Trump announced the initial agreement in a notice to Congress, though he doesn’t require the approval of lawmakers to implement the deal.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue, speaking at the same event as Kudlow, said business leaders are urging the administration to keep its focus on securing a “comprehensive high-standard trade agreement with Japan in the near future.”
Trump said Monday that the U.S. still planned to pursue further negotiations for a far-reaching U.S.-Japan agreement in the future.
“We need to make sure this initial package is a step in that direction,” said Donohue. “A comprehensive trade deal with Japan will provide some badly needed predictability -- not only with the U.S. and Japan, but for our trade allies.”
On the prospects of a U.S.-China trade deal, Kudlow said the mood has turned more optimistic. “There’s a little music in the air, which is not always so but right now, we should enjoy the day,” Kudlow said.
U.S.-China trade deputies are meeting Thursday and Friday in Washington and trade principals from the two countries will be meeting in mid-October to continue talks, he said.
© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.