April 17 (UPI) — Trade is expected to be a major focus of discussion as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Florida Tuesday for a series of bilateral meetings with President Donald Trump, senior White House officials said.
In particular, the two leaders likely will discuss the United States’ possible interest in the renegotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trump scrapped in January 2017. On Thursday, the president called on his advisers to weigh a return to the multilateral agreement.
Eleven Pacific Rim countries signed a new agreement — renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership — in November, but Abe earlier this year said he was anxious to meet with Trump again to renegotiate a trade deal.
Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters Tuesday that any possibility of the United States returning to a TPP-like agreement would be separate from the brewing trade tensions with China.
“China is a First World economy behaving like Third World economy. They have to start playing by the rules,” Kudlow said.
“Our complaints … particularly with respect to technology … the rest of the world is with us,” he added. “I hope that China reads that carefully and responds positively.”
Kudlow said he expects Abe and Trump to discuss a waiver for Japan on newly imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, which other major trade partners Germany, Canada and South Korea have secured.
The two leaders have three talks planned — two Tuesday and one Wednesday — at Trump’s Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago. There is a planned golf outing with Trump and Abe on Wednesday morning and a joint news conference in the afternoon. Abe was scheduled to depart Florida for Japan on Thursday morning.
In addition to trade, Abe and Trump were expected to talk about North Korea’s nuclear arms program and upcoming talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
A previous meeting between Trump and Abe in February 2017 was judged a success by both countries — but Trump has recently taken a more critical stand against Japan, saying a trade deficit between the countries must be corrected.