Trump to Play Golf With Japanese PM Next Week

Akio Toyoda
Abe showing consideration for US to win practical benefits
Author

09 February, 2017

All this should make for interesting conversation on the golf course this weekend when Abe and the President share a round near Trump's Mar-A-Largo "Winter White House".

A ruling is expected this week after a federal appeals court in San Francisco hears arguments on Trump's order temporarily banning US entry to people from seven Muslim-majority.

To stop China's aggressive maritime expansion in the East and South China seas, it is essential to keep the Japan-U.S. alliance solid and strong.

Mr Trump has previously criticised the lack of access to the Japanese auto market for United States producers and has accused Tokyo of using monetary policy to devalue its currency.

Abe said last week that he would tell the president that Japanese companies "have contributed to improving the competitiveness and productivity of US manufacturing industries".

Speculation is also simmering that Japanese manufacturers like Toyota Motor Corp, whose president Akio Toyoda met Abe last week, could time announcements about investment - either already planned or new - to coincide with the summit.

And while Trump described Japan as a "closed market" for cars, reports in the Financial Times suggest Honda is hoping the meeting will smooth over any "misgivings" the USA has about Japanese manufacturers. This time, according to media reports, the government is trying to put together a package of investments and loans that would create jobs in America.

The Japanese display maker Sharp Corp. was also considering building a plant in the US during the first half of 2017, although Sharp has not confirmed whether the plant will be built.

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Trump, who has abandoned the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact championed by his predecessor Barack Obama, wants to open talks on a bilateral free trade deal with Tokyo.

Asked in parliament about his plans for talks with Trump, Abe said Japanese companies are making significant contributions to the USA economy.

During the election campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized Japan for unfair trade practice involving auto imports and exports.

In the immediate aftermath of Trump's shock election victory last November, Abe hurried to NY, becoming the first global leader to meet the president-elect.

Japanese companies have also felt his ire on Twitter, with vehicle behemoth Toyota getting an earbashing over a planned factory in Mexico.

Abe is likely to reassure Trump that Japan is willing to play a bigger regional defense role and beef up its military capabilities.

Polls have shown that most Japanese expect relations with the United States to worsen under Trump.

The outreach to Trump carries risks.


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