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Trump meets Abe at G-7 summit, claims close to trade deal with Japan

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Biarritz | August 25, 2019 9:41:28 PM IST
US President Donald Trump on Sunday met Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of G-7 summit in the southwest French town of Biarritz and asserted that Washington is close to reaching a trade deal with Tokyo.

"We are working on one and we are fairly close," Trump said at the outset of his meeting with Abe, adding that if it gets done, it will be a "very big deal."

Abe, sitting alongside Trump, told reporters that intensive negotiations were conducted between the two sides, as the two countries look to close a bilateral deal in September.

Ahead of the summit, top Japanese and US negotiators on Friday broadly agreed on the outline of a trade deal in Washington after trying to formulate a structure that can benefit both economies and satisfy Trump, who has taken issue with his country's hefty trade deficit with Japan, The Japan Times reported.

"We are looking forward to reaching a consensus over the core elements of both agricultural and industrial productions. We still have some remaining work, namely, finalsing the wording of the trade agreement, and also the content of the agreement but we make sure that our teams would accelerate," Abe said.

"This trade agreement will have a positive impact on the economies of the US and Japan," he added.

According to the trade deal, Japan's tariff cuts on American farm products will not be deeper than those under existing frameworks such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which also involves such countries as Australia and Canada.

But Japan is unlikely to secure the elimination of US tariffs on cars and auto parts it had sought in the bilateral negotiations, even as levies on many other industrial products will be scrapped, sources familiar with the matter told The Japan Times.

Meanwhile, Washington has also urged Tokyo to cut tariffs on American farm products such as beef and pork.

Trump and Abe's bilateral meeting comes a day after North Korea successfully tested a new super-large multiple rocket launcher, which was overseen by the country's leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea fired two projectiles into the East Sea on Saturday. The projectiles were believed to be short-range ballistic missiles.

Addressing the recent developments, both Trump and Abe offered their differing views on North Korea's recent missile launches.

Trump said, "I'm not happy about it. But again he's not been in violation of an agreement," referring to North Korea's Kim.

Abe, however, was quoted as saying the short-range ballistic missile launches were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, calling them "extremely regrettable." (ANI)

 
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