President Trump hints to WSJ that trade fight with Japan could be next

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U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office of the White House on June 7, 2018.

President Donald Trump told a columnist for The Wall Street Journal that he will take his trade fights to Japan next.

WSJ’s James Freeman wrote on Thursday about a phone call he received from the president, in which Trump “described his good relations with the Japanese leadership but then added: ‘Of course that will end as soon as I tell them how much they have to pay.'”

Freeman, in the column for the opinion section, said the phone call came after he appeared on Fox News Channel giving the president credit for the results of his tax and regulatory reforms. During the phone call, Freeman wrote, the president sounded “still very focused on eliminating trade deficits with America’s trading partners.”

Trump has already created significant waves with Canadian, Mexican, Chinese and European trading partners, slapping tariffs on imports and threatening to walk away from decades-old agreements if they can’t be renegotiated to his satisfaction.

Freeman noted in the column that trade deficits correlate with a thriving economy, as the U.S. has now.

“But the President sees a problem and even if he wraps up negotiations with our friends in North America and Europe, the trade uncertainty won’t necessarily end,” Freeman wrote. “It seems that he is still bothered by the terms of U.S. trade with Japan.”

The Japanese yen strengthened versus the U.S. dollar following the report. The yen was last about 0.8 percent higher versus the dollar at $110.65 yen.

Read the WSJ’s column here.

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