U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that the United States would not have secured new trade negotiations with Japan without the threat of stiff tariffs on automobiles and parts.

"Without tariffs we wouldn't be talking about a deal," Trump said after he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last week to start talks for a bilateral trade agreement on goods. The move is a concession by Tokyo, which dropped its earlier insistence on a multilateral approach to trade issues.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, he said Abe told his predecessor, Barack Obama, that Japan was not going to negotiate a bilateral trade deal.