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Trump concludes Japan visit as trade official player down August deal



U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks as Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, during a dinner at the Inakaya restaurant in Roppongi district on May 26, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.

Kiyoshi Ota Getty Images News

U.S. President Donald Trump completed his four-day visit to Japan on Tuesday due to uncertainty about whether a trade agreement between the two countries could come within months.

Trump had shown during the journey that there will be trade announcements between the two parties "probably in August" and that the trade gap between the two countries could be "straightened out quickly."

But Japan's Minister of Economic Affairs sought to ease the expectations of a quick agreement and said on Tuesday that the US leader's comments reflected Trump's hopes of rapid progress in the negotiations.

"When you look at the exact wording of his comments, you can see that the president expressed hope for rapid progress in conversations with something that is mutually beneficial," said Toshimitsu Motegi to journalists at a regular cabinet meeting, according to Reuters. 1

9659002] The US had a large trade deficit of 67.6 billion. Dollars in commodities with Japan in 2018, according to the US Trade Representative's office, and Trump have indicated he will have a significant reduction in trade imbalance between countries. [19659002] Washington and Tokyo, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have been driving cars and agricultural products over several months.

"Optically, I think the trip went out and every page could have expected," Matthew Goodman, senior economics advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC's Chery Kang on Tuesday.

Addressing Trump's comment that a kind of deal could come in August, Goodman gave some doubt: "It will take longer than that."

"I think (Trump) was trying to indicate that he would not put pressure on Prime Minister Abe in front of the supreme home election in Japan in July, and it would then take August to get it done," he said.

But with disagreements over agriculture and cars, the problems are likely to take longer than a few months to be solved, especially given the complicated legislative process in both countries, Goodman added.

Last week, after a meeting with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, Motegi, who is in charge of trade negotiations, said that there were still different ces between the two sides to be smashed.

"We have agreed that we will strive to narrow the gap, including through possibly holding talks at work," Motegi said at the time, adding that no future talks had yet been planned.

– Reuters contributed to this report.


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