Japan says preparing for all possible US trade contingencies

View of the US- Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, northwestern Mexico on Jan 26, 2017.
View of the US- Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, northwestern Mexico on Jan 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS)– Japan is preparing for all possible contingencies regarding trade talks with the United States, chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Friday (Jan 27), after US  President Donald Trump ditched the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Washington next month, and an official in Trump’s administration said Trump would seek quick progress towards a bilateral trade agreement with Japan in place of the broader Asia-Pacific deal. 

“It is true that we are preparing to be able to respond to any possible situation,” Suga told a news conference.

He refrained from commenting on US trade policy until it becomes clear. 

“The alliance and the economy between Japan and the US is very important, so we would like to have talks with various levels with the US (about) how we can develop.” 

Suga also said Japan would continue to monitor closely how the relationship between the United States and Mexico affects Japanese companies.

On Thursday, the White House floated the idea of imposing a 20 per cent tax on goods from Mexico to pay for a wall at the southern US border, sending the peso plummeting and deepening the crisis between the two neighbours.

Japanese manufacturers including major automakers operate factories in Mexico.