The Latest: Japan cautious about Trump trade deal request

April 12, 2018 - 10:55 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. trade dispute with China (all times local):

10:45 p.m.

Japan is cautiously welcoming President Donald Trump's request to his trade team to explore the possibility of the United States rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Friday morning in Tokyo that Japan welcomes the request if it means Trump recognizes the significance of the multi-nation trade pact.

He adds, though, that it would be difficult to renegotiate only parts of it, describing the agreement as delicate.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP early last year. Japan was among the 11 other countries that signed it last month without the U.S.

Japan's Kyodo News service reported that Finance Minister Taro Aso cautioned that Trump "can be temperamental and might say something different the next day."


12:50 p.m.

Farm state lawmakers say President Donald Trump has asked top administration officials to look into rejoining talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from which the U.S. withdrew last year.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse says Trump said during a White House meeting with Midwest governors and lawmakers that he had "deputized" U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and economic adviser Larry Kudlow to look into the U.S. rejoining the TPP. It would be aimed at opening U.S. farmers to more overseas markets.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts says Trump wants "to see if we couldn't take another look at TPP." Roberts says it would be "good news all throughout farm country."

Eleven other Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping trade agreement last month that came together after the U.S. pulled out.


11:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is telling a group of farm state governors and lawmakers that he's pressing China to treat the American agriculture industry fairly.

Trump is seeking to reassure the lawmakers on proposed China tariffs. He's meeting at the White House with the governors of Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota and several Midwest senators and House members.

The president says China has consistently treated U.S. agriculture unfairly and his administration is "changing things with respect to trade."

He is telling the group, "Everything is going to be better."

Trump was discussing the Chinese threat to slap tariffs on soybeans and other crops grown in rural America. The move could hurt Midwestern farmers, many of whom are strong supporters of the president.


11:19 a.m.

An array of business executives are expressing alarm to federal lawmakers Thursday about the impact that tariffs will have on their business.

Kevin Kennedy, president of a steel fabrication business in Texas, says tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have led U.S. steel producers to raise their prices by 40 percent. He says that's shifting work to competitors outside the U.S.

Kennedy says what was presented as a tariff on foreign steel has effectively become a tax on U.S. manufactures such as his company.

Kennedy is appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, which is examining the impact of tariffs.

Lawmakers later Thursday are scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump to talk about trade.

China has countered by announcing its own set of tariffs on U.S. products.

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