• Kyodo


President Donald Trump accused Japan on Wednesday of treating the United States unfairly on trade, claiming that Japan exports cars with low tariffs but does not take American cars.

Speaking at a news conference a day after the Republican Party lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, Trump also said he will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un early next year.

While calling Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “one of the people I’m closest with,” Trump said, “I tell him all the time that Japan doesn’t treat the United States fairly on trade.

“They send in millions of cars at a very low tax. They don’t take our cars,” he said.

Trump criticized Japan’s trade surplus with the United States, adding, “But don’t feel lonely because you aren’t the only one.”

The administration is expected to push Japan for increased market access for automobiles and agriculture when the two governments start negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement as early as in mid-January.

Trump, meanwhile, said the administration is “in no rush” over denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, in comments hours after the cancellation of a meeting scheduled for Thursday in New York between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Pyongyang counterpart, Kim Yong Chol.

Washington will not lift sanctions unless Pyongyang takes responsive measures, the president said.

With a divided Congress set to convene in January, Trump expressed eagerness to cooperate with the Democratic Party in advancing issues for Americans such as the economy, infrastructure, health care and drug prices.

“Hopefully we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” he said.

“These are some of the things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that.”

Trump repeated his support for an additional 10 percent tax cut for middle-income people, but also showed a flexible stance given that the GOP no longer controls both chambers of Congress.

“If the Democrats come up with an idea for tax cut, I would absolutely pursue something, even if it means some adjustment,” he said. “But I would love to see a tax cut for the middle class.”

In Tuesday’s elections, widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s first two years in office, the Republican Party ceded control of the lower chamber but retained its majority in the Senate.

With 218 seats needed for a majority in the 435-member House, Democrats have captured 222 and Republicans 197, with winners undetermined in 16 races, according to Real Clear Politics.

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