WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump planned to discuss American purchases of Japanese automobiles and other sensitive trade issues with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at the White House on Thursday.
Trump, at the start of the meeting with Abe, said he also would raise the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, a key American ally that was among countries hit by the metal tariffs Trump imposed this spring.
"Obviously, we buy a lot of things from Japan -- in particular, automobiles. We'll have to talk about that," Trump told reporters, adding that Japan also buys a lot of military equipment from the United States.
Abe, who is in Washington to meet with Trump ahead of the U.S. president's historic summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, praised Trump and said he also wanted to talk about investment.
"We're working hard to reduce our trade imbalance which is very substantial, remove barriers to U.S. exports and to achieve a fair and mutually beneficial economic partnership," Trump said at a joint news conference later Thursday with Abe.
"We welcome and encourage Japanese investors to open new plants and factories in the United States, and that will happen. The prime minister told me that will happen," Trump said.
Their meeting comes as Trump prepares to attend the G7 summit on Friday and Saturday in Canada, where a cool reception may await him following his tariffs on steel and aluminum that also were levied on Japan, Canada, European nations and others.
The G7 group includes Canada, the United States, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Germany. The EU also attends.