Abe defends Japanese automakers against US import probe

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he would seek to convince President Donald Trump of the crucial role his country's automakers play in boosting the U.S. economy.
  • Abe also said Tokyo will continue to urge Washington to join the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at a news conference at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 18, 2018.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at a news conference at Mar-a-Lago resort on April 18, 2018.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he would seek to convince President Donald Trump of the crucial role his country's automakers play in boosting the U.S. economy.

The Trump administration decided last week to begin a national security investigation into auto imports that could lead to new U.S. tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminium.

"Japanese automakers have created jobs and made huge contributions to the U.S. economy," Abe told parliament, when asked by a lawmaker how Japan would respond to the U.S. move.

"As a country that prioritizes a rule-based, multilateral trade system, Japan believes that any steps taken on trade must be in line with World Trade Organization rules," he said.

The number of cars Japanese automakers produce in the United States is double the number it exports to the country, Abe said.

Abe also said Tokyo will continue to urge Washington to join the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"Japan has explained to the United States its stance that TPP is the best format for both countries. We will continue to talk with the United States based on this view," he said.