THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 18, 2018
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP
AT WORKING LUNCH WITH PRIME MINISTER ABE OF JAPAN
Palm Beach, Florida
2:54 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody. Prime Minister Abe and I have spent a lot of time today, and we really spent a lot of time since I got elected. And right from the beginning we hit it off. The relationship is a very good one.
We talked North Korea. Covered that yesterday, a little bit today. Were talking military and, of course, were talking trade. What were going to be doing now mostly is trade. As the Prime Minister knows, theyve done very well with the United States. We have a very big deficit, and were going to weed that down and hopefully get a balance at some point in the not-too-distant future. But we have a massive deficit with Japan.
We will, I believe, at the end of a fairly short period of time, be able to do certain things. I know theyre ordering large numbers of airplanes -- both jet fighters and passenger planes -- and its in the tens of billions of dollars. And theyll not only get the best plane, but will help with the process of equalization.
So I think were going to have a very -- this is a very exciting meeting for me because I like this maybe the best. I love the world of finance and the world of economics, and probably, its where I do the best. But we will be able to work things out.
Im very happy to have Larry Kudlow with us. Hes a special man. Hes been a friend. Ive been on his show many, many times over the years. And weve had a lot of fun together. We havent always agreed, but I noticed lately Larry is agreeing more and more with me, which makes me quite happy. (Laughter.)
And John Bolton -- John was really very much involved yesterday with our meetings on North Korea and our meetings on the military. And, John, its great to have you and Larry with us. A real honor. Thank you very much.
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for being here, and your representatives. The relationship has been so good with all of us, and lets see how we do with, right now, the trade deficit.
Thank you very much for being here. Please.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (Speaks Japanese.) (No translation provided.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, Shinzo.
Id like to just maybe conclude by saying that its an honor that you wanted to be at Mar-a-Lago. We have a lot of people that want to be here. It's just a special place. And somehow it makes people feel good, and thats good for a relationship.
Reciprocal is the world that I think we have to start using with a lot of nations, not only Japan. So when we say, free, thats good. Fair, thats good. But I like to say, free, fair, and reciprocal. And the word reciprocal is that when you have a car come in, we charge you a tax. When we have a car go through Japan, which arent allowed to go there, we have to take down the barriers and we have to pay the same tax.
But that goes for other countries, too. I mean, China, as an example, when they send a car to us, its 2.5 percent tax. When we send a car to them, number one, they dont take it, and number two, its 25 percent tax. And then you wonder why we have $500 billion of imbalance. And its not right.
So hopefully, the word reciprocal will be the primary word that were going to be using. And we use that with every nation now, because the United States has not been properly led on trade. Our people have let us down. Whether its our Presidents or our representatives, theyve let us down.
So free, fair, and reciprocal. And I think weve all agreed to that. And thats just very important.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, are you concerned about Mike Pompeos confirmation?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I think hes going to come through. I think Mike Pompeo is extraordinary. He was number one at West Point. He was top at Harvard. Hes a great gentleman. I think hell go down as truly a great Secretary of State.
I will say this about Rand Paul: Hes never let me down. Rand Paul is a very special guy, as far as Im concerned. Hes never let me down. And I dont think hell let us down again. So lets see what happens.
If you remember, he voted for healthcare and he did us a big favor. It was somebody else that voted against it that hurt us. So I have a lot of confidence in Rand, but I also have a great deal of confidence in Mike Pompeo.
I think Mike Pompeo will go down as one of the great Secretary of States. And, by the way, he just left North Korea. Had a great meeting with Kim Jong-un, and got along with him really well, really great. And hes that kind of a guy. Hes very smart but he gets along with people. So I think that Mike will be in good shape.
Well see what happens. You know, a lot of people are predicting other things. But I have a feeling its going to work out very well, and I think our country really needs him. Hes going to be a great leader. Thank you very much. Thank you.
END 3:01 P.M. EDT