Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to champion free trade in his first policy speech since U.S. President Donald Trump renewed pressure on the country to sign a bilateral trade deal.
“Tit-for-tat trade sanctions don’t benefit any country,” Abe told a gathering of lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday, without mentioning Trump by name. “Now is the time for Japan to take the lead in creating the rules of the new era as a flag-bearer for free trade.”
On Friday, Trump told reporters that Japan would have a “big problem” if it didn’t reach a new trade deal with the U.S. Earlier in the week, Trump had told the Wall Street Journal his good relationship with the Japanese leadership “will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay.”
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