Shinzo Abe to talk trade with Donald Trump after US exits Trans-Pacific Partnership

ABC Rural, By Babs McHugh

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with US President Donald Trump next week, with trade negotiations high on the agenda.

Mr Trump last week followed through on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, a 12-nation pact that includes Japan, the US and Australia.

Mr Abe has said the TPP would be discussed at the meeting.

But Tokyo-based international energy analyst Tom O’Sullivan, from Mathyos Global Advisory, said he believed the focus was more likely to be on bilateral trade deals.

“It really does look like the TPP is dead and buried now,” he said.

“Japan doesn’t have a free trade agreement with the US so one option is a bilateral trade agreement, but certainly Mr Abe is looking to get more clarity on trade.

“The Japanese are very concerned about Mr Trump’s trade agenda, and he has said on a couple of occasions he is not happy about the trade imbalance with Japan.”

Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP came just days after Mr Abe visited Australia.

During that visit, he and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reaffirmed their commitment to the TPP.

Japan is a crucial export market for Australian iron ore, coal, gas and agricultural commodities.

Mr O’Sullivan said changes to the Japan-US trade relationship would likely have consequences on Australian exports.

“Japan has a trade imbalance with the US of around $US60 billion,” he said.

“So if Trump was to say, we’re going to slap a 20 per cent tariff on any Japanese imports, then obviously that would be a huge impact on Japanese economy.”