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President Donald Trump on Friday predicted a “level playing field” on currencies and trade, renewing his promise to take measures to allow America to compete more fairly on the global market.
Mr Trump, who pulled the US out of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership during his first week in office, said in a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the US seeks a trade relationship that is “free, fair and reciprocal benefiting both of our countries”.
He also said that both Japan and US should continue to invest in the alliance to build up defence and defensive capabilities.
Mr Abe added that expanding free trade and investment are good for both economies. He also said that he proposed a new framework for economic dialogue between US vice president Mike Pence and Japanese deputy prime minister Taro Aso.
Since taking office, Mr Trump has been seeking to deliver on his campaign promises to put America first and a bilateral trade deal with Japan would be viewed as a win for the Trump administration. He has also repeatedly criticised both China, and more recently Japan, for manipulating their currencies.
When asked about China’s forex policies during the press conference on Friday, Mr Trump noted that he had a “warm” call with Chinese President Xi Jinping the previous day. But, he added that he had “been complaining about currency devaluations for a long time” and said: “I believe that we will all eventually, and probably sooner than people understand or think, we will be all on a level playing field because that’s the only way its fair”.
During the press conference, the yen reversed losses of as much as 0.5 per cent earlier in the day and climbed as much as 0.3 per cent against the US dollar.
Mr Trump also said that the two countries will work together to promote shared interests in the Asia-Pacific region including freedom against navigation and the North Korean nuclear threat.
Meanwhile, Mr Abe noted that last year Japan invested more than $150bn in the US and those Japanese businesses created a large number of jobs. He said that under Mr Trump there will be large infrastructure investments, including in high speed rail, and that Japan with its “high level of technical capability” will be able to contribute to Mr Trump’s growth strategy.