TOKYO (AFP, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - The United States and Japan hope to have more to announce very soon on a trade deal, President Donald Trump said on Monday (May 27) after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a state visit.
Mr Trump’s goal was to remove trade barriers so as to give US exports a fair footing in Japan, he added.
Earlier in the day, Mr Trump lashed out at a "tremendous" imbalance in trade with Japan, but said that it could be "worked out" as the pair negotiate a deal.
He also said he may announce something on a US-Japan trade agreement in August, giving Mr Abe breathing space on the contentious issue as his ruling party heads into elections planned for July.
"We are working on the imbalance of trade - there's been a tremendous imbalance - and we are working on that. I'm sure that will work out over a period of time," Mr Trump said ahead of summit talks with Mr Abe.
Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on the approximately US$50 billion worth of Japanese cars and auto parts exported to the US annually, and is seeking greater access to the world’s third-largest economy for American farmers.
Trump said told reporters that “a lot of very positive things are happening on trade".
"Trade-wise, I think we will be announcing some things probably in August that will be very good for both countries,” Trump said.
“We have to do a little catching up with Japan because they’ve been doing much more business with us. We’d like to do a little more business in the reverse.”
Mr Abe said he and Mr Trump will discuss North Korea, US-Japan economic issues and next month’s Group of 20 summit.
Speaking ahead of the talks, Mr Abe added that he was determined to showcase the strength of the two nations’ alliance.
Earlier, Mr Trump met new Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in the ceremonial highlight of a state visit overshadowed by trade tensions between the allies.
Mr Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs as part of an effort to reduce trade surpluses with other countries, which he sees as a sign that the US has been mistreated.