Japan does not want its current discussions with the U.S. on aluminium and steel to become bilateral trade discussions, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said, Bloomberg News reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump refused to exempt Japan from new tariffs on metal imports. Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko expected some Japanese steel and aluminium products to receive exemption from tariffs. Trump has criticized the country's trade surplus with the U.S. and its currency policies during his presidential campaign and as president.
Aso said Japan would continue to refuse bilateral trade talks with the U.S. Tokyo has been seeking a continuation of multilateral trade deals and recently joined 10 other nations in an Asia-Pacific pact that does not include the U.S.
Meanwhile, a former top Japanese currency diplomat said Japan would have to enter a bilateral trade deal with the U.S. similar to that reached between South Korea and the U.S., Reuters reported. Naoyuki Shinohara said the U.S. would use bilateral talks to demand more access to Japan's auto and agricultural markets.
Japanese Prime Minister Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet Trump next month in the U.S.