Abe discusses U.S. tariff plan with Australian and Canadian leaders

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe exchanged views on Tuesday with his Australian and Canadian counterparts about U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of a plan to impose steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Abe discussed the U.S. plan in separate telephone calls with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, affirming with both leaders that they will keep in close contact on the matter.

Trump announced last week that his administration will place tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports in the name of national security.

Trump has indicated the measure will be applicable to all trade partners, leaving Japan and other countries concerned about whether or not their exports might be exempted.

Abe also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal with Turnbull and Trudeau, the ministry said.

Ministers from the 11 countries participating in the TPP, including Japan, Australia and Canada, are set to gather in Chile on Thursday to sign the deal, having revised it following the withdrawal of the United States under Trump.

With Trudeau, Abe agreed to continue to work together after the signing of the TPP to expand the area covered by the deal, the ministry said.

Abe and Trudeau also agreed to work together toward the TPP’s early entry into force and this year’s Group of Seven advanced countries’ summit, which Canada will chair. They agreed to debate the issue of North Korea at the summit.

Abe told Trudeau that recent talks between North and South Korea must not distract the international community from its plan to strengthen pressure on the North, the ministry said.