Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for “free and fair” trade deals in Asia, echoing Donald Trump’s promise to America when he campaigned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Abe, of course, was an active supporter of the deal drafted by former President Obama, but he signaled a different approach during his visit.
“Free and fair common set of rules should be created for the free trade in the region,” Abe said, according to a translator during a press conference at the White House with Trump on Friday. The prime minister appeared optimistic that he could discuss the possibility of a bilateral trade deal with Trump.
Trump hinted that he wanted to do something about China’s devalued currency to bring about a more level playing field, especially on trade issues.
“That’s the only way that you can fairly compete in trade and other things,” he said. “And we will be on that field, and we will all be working very hard to do great for our country. But it has to be fair, and we will make it fair.”
After the press conference, the two leaders released a statement noting that they would continue discussing “a bilateral framework” as well as regional economic stability.
Abe said he was looking forward to his weekend at Mar-a-Lago with Trump and commented about golf.
“We will play golf together,” he said. “My scores in golf are not up to the level of Donald at all.”