Business

Trump knocks trade advantage while urging Japanese business leaders to increase investments in U.S.

Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday urged Japanese business leaders to increase their investment in the United States while saying Japan has a substantial edge on trade that negotiators are trying to even out.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions loom. He told the group of top business executives there has never been a better time to invest in the United States.

He said he hopes to address the trade imbalance between the United States and Japan and ensure fairness and reciprocity.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China in protest against Beijing’s treatment of U.S. companies, and tensions with Japan and the European Union over trade are simmering.

He made clear during an impromptu news conference Thursday that he was flattered by the invitation.

“Prime Minister Abe said to me, very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor.’ There’s only one guest of honor . . . I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said.

“So it’s a great thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well with the prime minister.”