Trump says U.S. and Japan have begun talks on trade

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ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States and Japan have begun discussion over trade, saying that Tokyo “knows it’s a big deal” if an agreement cannot be reached.

U.S. President Donald Trump waves from Air Force One as he departs Billings, Montana U.S., September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

“We’re starting that,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “In fact Japan called us … they came last week.”

“If we don’t make a deal with Japan, Japan knows it’s a big deal,” he added.

Trump, who is already challenging China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union on trade issues, has expressed displeasure about his country’s large trade deficit with Japan, but had not asked Tokyo to take specific steps to address the imbalance.

On Friday, though, CNBC reported he had told a Wall Street Journal columnist he might take on trade issues with Japan, causing the dollar to slip against the yen.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Chris Reese

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