Abe's Trump Trade Pitch

17 April, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Japan China restart economic dialogue

On Tuesday, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit the United States as part of an intense diplomatic bid to make sure the U.S. doesn't agree to anything with the North Koreans that would threaten the security of the world's third biggest economy.

Japan could also express support for a US return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that Trump abandoned on taking office. Bloomberg says that neither side "is publicly linking the talks in Tokyo between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi 王毅 and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono" to Trump's protectionist rhetoric, but "the meeting is a timely reminder of how much they both rely on the American market, as well as how interdependent the two Asian nations have become".

But Japan's government, which was dismayed by Trump's decision to pull out of a huge Pacific free trade deal a year ago, has made it clear that it's in no hurry to sign up for bilateral negotiations with Washington.

On North Korea, the two countries have drifted apart since the last time Trump and Abe met. The U.S.is threatening tariffs on about $50 billion on imports from China to address what it called "unfair Chinese economic practices" in IP and forced technology transfers.

Abe himself has been accused of having used his influence to help his long-time friend Kotaro Kake open a new university department in the western city of Imabari at a time when universities have struggled to attract students amid low birthrates in Japan.

China has replaced the U.S.as the number one trading partner for most nations in Asia, even those that have military alliances with the USA, like South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the regional trade deal Trump pulled out of previous year, would have helped lower those barriers for American farmers. Hence, it is heartening to see Prime Minister Shinzo Abe not abiding by the anti-Russian Federation narrative of America and the United Kingdom respectively.


"We expect it to be very positive", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday of Abe's visit.

Trade tension between the USA and China is not new. But he has suffered plummeting poll ratings over allegations that a nationalist school linked to his wife got preferential government treatment in a land sale.

The negotiations involved in re-entering TPP could extend beyond Trump's first term, according to the report.

Abe has said he "would quit as prime minister and lawmaker" if he or his wife were found to be involved in the land deal.

There are other levers Washington could also seek to use. Worsening U.S. relations with Moscow also limit Abe's ability to negotiate a peace treaty with Russian leader Vladimir Putin-a project that has stalled as Russia's relations with Europe and the United States have worsened.

"Mr. Abe wants to confirm their cooperation and eliminate the image that Japan is left out of the loop", he said. Trump and Abe will also hold a joint news conference before the Trumps host the Japanese delegations for dinner.

As Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote: "Both will want to spend time away from cameras, trying to resolve their differences and putting a strong statesman-like face on as they struggle through this increasingly fraught era".

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