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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 May 22 - 28  > Abe and Trump supposedly agree to conclude new free-trade deal after Japan’s Upper House election
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2019 May 22 - 28 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Abe and Trump supposedly agree to conclude new free-trade deal after Japan’s Upper House election

May 28, 2019

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and visiting U.S. President Donald Trump on May 27 in Tokyo held a meeting which dealt with the issue of bilateral trade talks as the main item of discussion.

Other items on the Abe-Trump summit meeting agenda included the purchase of U.S.-made weapons and the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

At a joint press conference following the summit meeting, President Trump, with agricultural products in mind, said that in trade negotiations with Japan his government will seek to remove all trade barriers. He also stressed that the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement “is not binding at all on the United States.”

Meanwhile, at the press conference, PM Abe only said that Japan and the U.S. will accelerate discussions on a trade agreement based on mutual trust between the two nations.

PM Abe fell short of giving a clear response to a question from the press about Trump’s remark at the onset of the summit meeting. Trump in his remark suggested that a new bilateral trade pact may be concluded in August. The reason for not responding to the question is because PM Abe intends to prevent the bilateral talks on tariff cuts from becoming a key issue of concern in the July Upper House election.

On top of this, asked by the press whether a new trade pact will have a similar tariff level as that reached in the TPP, PM Abe failed to give a response. This indicates the possibility that Japan will be forced to open its market beyond the TPP level.

Later in the day in the Diet building, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira commented on the Abe-Trump summit meeting.

Pointing out that PM Abe fell silent on a question about Trump’s “TPP is not binding on the U.S.” remark, Koike said, “With the latest Abe-Trump talks, it has again become clear that Trump will pressure Japan to make generous concessions, including the removal of agricultural tariffs.”

Furthermore, Koike pointed out that PM Abe also gave no response to a question about Trump’s remark that there could be a major announcement regarding a trade agreement with Japan in August. Koike said, “The two leaders allegedly agreed to refrain from concluding a free-trade arrangement before Japan’s Upper House election in July. If PM Abe denies this to be the case, he should explain this matter by calling Budget Committee meetings in both houses of the Diet.”

Past related articles:
> Abe’s submissive stance in trade talks with US will lead Japan into economic ruin [April 19, 2019]
> Abe gov't sells national sovereignty piece by piece [January 3, 2019]
> Shii criticizes latest Abe-Trump meeting for threatening Japan’s economic sovereignty [September 28, 2018]
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