19:25 GMT +313 December 2018
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    President Donald Trump welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outside the West Wing of the White House

    Trump: Japan Relations May Sour 'When I Tell Them How Much They Have to Pay'

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    Trump shared his views on international trade, eyeing Japan in particular, saying that Washington's "strong" relationship with Tokyo might "end," local media reported.

    Wall Street Journal columnist and editor James Freeman said he had spoken to Trump earlier on Thursday, saying that the President “sounded very stable but unfortunately also still very focused on eliminating trade deficits with America’s trading partners.” 

    Freemen said that Trump called him shortly after an editor appeared on the Fox News channel, admiring Trump’s actions for US economy. Trump said that their relations with Japan are "strong" however, "that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay."

    US imports from Japan were nearly $12 billion in July, according to the Financial Times. The US' aggregate trade deficit with the world’s third-biggest economy was $40 billion in the year to the end of July, narrowing from a $73,3 billion deficit five years ago. Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last spoken in June agreeing to continue consulting with each other. The two have met eight times since Trump took office, which is more often than with any other world leader.

    President’s words came in the midst of the US renegotiating their trade deals with a number of international partners, following Trump’s election promise to eliminate the trade deficit. Last week Trump announced a trade deal with Mexico which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The US is separately negotiating with Canada as the talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continued from Wednesday looking for a better NAFTA deal.

    READ MORE: Trump: 'No Necessity to Keep Canada in New NAFTA Deal'

    Another trade fight the US is currently in is with Japan’s rival on the Asian market, China, as has Trump floated another $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

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    Tags:
    trade dispute, trade deals, trade deficit, NAFTA, Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump, Japan, United States
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