WATCH: Trump Hosts Sales Pitch by Japan’s PM
President Donald Trump wants to take keep US manufacturers and jobs at home and he intends to punish companies that would defy that policy. He has also taken credit for a number of decisions by US and foreign companies to invest in the United States.
Not to be outdone, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear he will go to bat for Japanese companies looking to do business in the US. Following their initial meeting at the White House in Friday, President Trump made some general remarks about regional security and a passing reference to the trading relationship between the two countries, while Abe went on at length about trade policy and about present and future Japanese investments in the US. (He also touched on security issues as well.)
PRIME MINISTER ABE: The United States is a country having the largest number of chances, opportunities in the world. That has always been the case right now, as well as going forward. This will never change. And that is the reason why automotive industries and other Japanese businesses have built factories all over the United States, to engage in local production here. Last year, from Japan to the United States, there have been more than $150 billion of new investment being made into the United States. And those Japanese businesses have created a large number of jobs. The mutually beneficial economic relations have been built by Japan and the United States. With President Trump taking on the leadership, I’m sure there will be — major-scale infrastructure investment will be made, including the fast-speed train.
Those of you who have rode on the Japanese Shinkansen, I’m sure you would appreciate the speed, the comfort and safety with the latest maglev technology. From Washington, D.C. to New York, where Trump Tower exists, only one hour would it take if you ride the maglev train from Washington, D.C. to New York. Japan, with our high level of technical capability, we will be able to contribute to President Trump’s growth strategy. There will be even more new jobs being born in the United States.
And to further deepen these bilateral economic relations between Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence, there will be a cross-sectoral dialogue to be held. And we have agreed on this.
And furthermore, in Asia Pacific, where we see dramatic growth to expand free trade and investment, this will be a big chance for both Japan and the United States. But, of course, it must be done in a fair manner. Never should a state-owned company, backed by state capital, should not make any economic intervention. Free ride on intellectual property should not be condoned. In Asia Pacific region, with Japan and U.S. taking on the leadership to create free and fair market based upon rules, should be built. I and President Trump have confirmed on our strong will to do so.
In response to a reporter’s questions, Abe had this to say about the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):
PRIME MINISTER ABE: On TPP — oh, of course, we are fully aware of President Trump’s decision. On economic issues, we will be discussing at the working lunch to follow. As for Japan and United States, trade and investment, as well as economic relations, how can we develop and grow our relationship. As I have already mentioned, Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence will create a new framework for dialogue, and I am quite optimistic that the good results will be seen from the dialogue.
Now, for the free and fair common set of rules to be created for the free trade regime in the region, and that was the purpose of TPP, and that importance have not changed. I, myself, believe that.
In response to a reporter’s question, President Trump had this to say about keeping US companies stateside:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. I will say that — and you’ve seen it — ever since I won the election and became President-elect, I’ve been telling companies, car companies and other companies — many companies: Come back into the United States. And they’ve been coming back in. And big announcements are going to be made over the next short period of time. Some of you already know what those announcements are.
We lost a lot of our factories, a lot of our plants. And those factories and those plants will be coming back. And jobs will be coming back to Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and so many other places where we’ve lost so many jobs. And those are the people that were so good to me, and now I’m being good to them.
So we’ve had a tremendous number of announcements. We’ve had Ford and General Motors and many, many others — Intel yesterday made a major announcement. And they did that because of what is happening with our tax structure, which is going along very well. And we’ll be having some very big news over the next short period of time.