President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan sign “stage-one” of a U.S-Japan trade agreement negotiated by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Foreign Minister Motegi; both are very strong negotiators.
The agreement has been in the works for several years as President Trump and PM Abe both held firm to positions that benefit both. [Video and Transcript Below] Japan is the fulcrum for Trump’s Indo-Pacific trade reset; PM Abe recognizes the importance of positioning Japan to benefit from the decoupling between the U.S. and China. Trade can be boring at times, but this jousting is actually a lot of fun; don’t miss it.
[Transcript] – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much everybody for being here. I’m honored to be alongside my great friend, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, to formally announce our first stage of a phenomenal new trade agreement with our close ally. They’ve been a great friend, and the Prime Minister has been my great friend.
I want to thank Ambassador Lighthizer for his extraordinary work in these negotiations. He works 24 hours a day. He never sleeps. (Laughter.) He’s a great gentleman. When I first got this job, everybody was saying, “You got to get Lighthizer. You have to get Lighthizer.” He’s a great and fine man who also gets along with the other side, and in particular with Japan. They’ve developed a really great mutual respect.
I’m grateful as well to several members of my Cabinet for joining us this afternoon — and that’s Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, Secretary Pompeo. And my thanks also to Representative Roger Marshall.
In a moment, the Prime Minister and I will sign a document outlining the significant steps we’re taking toward a fair and reciprocal trade agreement. We insist on fairness and we insist on reciprocal — we want reciprocal agreements from now on because — and I’m not just talking about Japan. I’m talking about virtually every nation in the world. They have not been reciprocal. They’ve been one-way streets.
Under the market access agreement that we’re announcing today, Japan will open new markets to approximately $7 billion in American agricultural products. Japanese tariffs will now be significantly lower, or eliminated entirely, for U.S. beef, pork, wheat, cheese, corn, wine, and so much more.
This is a huge victory for America’s farmers, ranchers, and growers. And that’s very important to me.
And it’s very important that you report this news, as opposed to not reporting it, because it’s great for our farmers, as you know, and ranchers, and for a lot of other people.
We also reached a deal for robust commitments on $40 billion of digital trade between our two countries. This will greatly expand commerce across cutting-edge products and services.
Japan is one of America’s most important economic partners. We are Japan’s top foreign investor, by far. And Japanese investments in America supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
The deal we’re announcing today will reduce our chronic trade deficit built up and taken effect over many, many years of dealing with other governments and other administrations, and it’ll deepen our enduring national ties. It’s a very important deal.
Our teams will continue negotiations on remaining areas of interest to achieve a final comprehensive agreement. We’re negotiating very, very big transactions with Japan. Some of them — I think probably all of them in the not-too-distant future will happen. This is a big chunk.
But in the fairly near future, we’re going to be having a lot more very comprehensive deals signed with Japan.
So this is tremendous for our technology industries, but in particular, these are really big dollars for our farmers and for our ranchers.
I want to congratulate Prime Minister Abe. Not so long ago, he had a tremendous election victory. He won by a lot, and a lot of people say that it was only his friendship with President Trump that got him that tremendous victory. (Laughter.)
So, Shinzo, I want to thank you again for your steadfast partnership. I look forward to continuing to work closely with you as we pursue lasting prosperity and peace for our people. And congratulations to the people of Japan and congratulations on your great victory. Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) Thank you, Donald. For the past 12 months, since we have signed the Japan-U.S. joint statement back in September 2018, we have had strenuous negotiations between Japan and the United States. And I am very delighted that today, together with you, we are announcing final agreement on our trade agreement.
One of the highlights of this new agreement is that under this agreement, we together, we’ll be able to bring benefit to everyone in Japan as well in the United States, namely consumers, producers, as well as workers. So the outcome of this negotiation is actually a win-win solution for Japan and the United States.
So under the new agreement, I do believe that we have successfully covered a wide range of areas, including not only the industrial goods, but also the agricultural products and also the digital trade between the two sides. And I am convinced that now, with these two agreements in place, we will be able to develop both economies of Japan and the United States as we move forward.
So, in your first statement, you applauded the great work done by Ambassador Lighthizer and also the wonderful American team. And from my own perspective, I do share your great applaud for the American team because they have been very, very tough throughout the negotiation process. (Laughter.) And to live up to your expectation, and also to meet the (inaudible) between Japan and the United States, I specifically assigned this important work to now the Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Motegi, and his team. And I am sure that he did a great job, too.
And I do believe that the outcome of this negotiation is namely the crystallization of the strenuous and persistent efforts made by Minister Motegi and his team. And also, I like to underscore that both Minister Motegi and Ambassador Lighthizer did take care and also took into account the national interest of Japan and the United States, respectively.
And now, here we are today to share this final agreement. And I’m so glad that Donald also shared my aspiration, and you join us and join me in making this final judgement — decision to announce the final agreement on the two agreements between Japan and the United States.
Since your inauguration, Japan is the number one investor in the United States. In total of 25.7 billion U.S. dollar investment was already announced by Japan, which have already created more than 50,000 jobs for American people.
And I am convinced that when we are to have the entry into force of the Japan-U.S. trade agreement, as well as Japan-U.S. digital trade agreement, we will further galvanize the investment in the two sides, and also we’ll be able to deepen our economic relations. So once again, this will be a win-win outcome for Japan and the United States. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(The agreement is signed.) (Applause.)