growth

Vice President Joe Biden, despite some vulnerability due to his political past, is the man to beat in the Democratic primary, representing “stability” and familiarity, according to Clinton Family political guru James Carville.

“It’s really a question of Biden and everybody else,” Carville told “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “Can Biden stay in the lead? Or does he falter and then one of these other people come charging in from behind? We’re going to have to wait and see.

“I think Biden represents stability and a return to something Democrats are familiar with, that Obama administration, but doesn’t represent generational change.”

Carville does acknowledge Biden has to answer to some of his political past, but he can absolve all of that against Democratic primary opponents and President Donald Trump in the general election, by reminding everyone former President Barack Obama thought he was the second-best man to be president of the United States before the 2008 campaign.

“Biden has one classic good answer to everything – anything that happened pre-2008, he [can] say, ‘President Obama knew about all this, looked at the totality of my record, and thought that, of all the people in the United States, I would make the best president besides him,” Carville told host John Catsimatidis. 

“This is how he puts that to rest.”

President Trump’s case against Democrats rests heavily on the economy, which is not quite as promising the parts of America that actually supports the president, according to Carville.

“We have had growth, two-thirds or 70% of all the growth we’ve had has been in urban areas, which are never going to vote for Trump,” Carville said. “Where Trump’s base is — in a lot of these rural areas — the economy is not appreciably that much better than it was when he took office.

“. . . Maybe [the economy] is propping him up. Maybe he’d be at 30% approval [without a good economy]. We don’t know that. But we know that attitudes about him are pretty hard and pretty fixed.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Vice President Joe Biden, despite some vulnerability due to his political past, is the man to beat in the Democratic primary, representing “stability” and familiarity, according to Clinton Family political guru James Carville.

“It’s really a question of Biden and everybody else,” Carville told “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “Can Biden stay in the lead? Or does he falter and then one of these other people come charging in from behind? We’re going to have to wait and see.

“I think Biden represents stability and a return to something Democrats are familiar with, that Obama administration, but doesn’t represent generational change.”

Carville does acknowledge Biden has to answer to some of his political past, but he can absolve all of that against Democratic primary opponents and President Donald Trump in the general election, by reminding everyone former President Barack Obama thought he was the second-best man to be president of the United States before the 2008 campaign.

“Biden has one classic good answer to everything – anything that happened pre-2008, he [can] say, ‘President Obama knew about all this, looked at the totality of my record, and thought that, of all the people in the United States, I would make the best president besides him,” Carville told host John Catsimatidis. 

“This is how he puts that to rest.”

President Trump’s case against Democrats rests heavily on the economy, which is not quite as promising the parts of America that actually supports the president, according to Carville.

“We have had growth, two-thirds or 70% of all the growth we’ve had has been in urban areas, which are never going to vote for Trump,” Carville said. “Where Trump’s base is — in a lot of these rural areas — the economy is not appreciably that much better than it was when he took office.

“. . . Maybe [the economy] is propping him up. Maybe he’d be at 30% approval [without a good economy]. We don’t know that. But we know that attitudes about him are pretty hard and pretty fixed.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

An earth mover prepares the foundation of new apartment block development in the waterfront suburb of Rushcutters Bay
An earth mover prepares the foundation of new apartment block development in the waterfront suburb of Rushcutters Bay, Australia, December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

May 26, 2019

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s crumbling housing market looks set to stabilize over coming months as hopes of interest rate cuts and loosening of mortgage rules have boosted buyer inquiries, property and mortgage brokers say.

Home prices across Australia have fallen rapidly since late-2017, heightening worries among policymakers that a prolonged decline would deal a severe blow to the country’s already slowing economy.

While industry watchers say a return to boom times is unlikely anytime soon, they point to signs suggesting a bottoming-out for the sector is imminent.

Economists, including those at AMP and Citibank, last week re-jigged their forecasts to pencil in a less steeper decline in home prices than previously predicted. Several property and mortgage brokers who spoke to Reuters on Friday also said they have seen a noticeable jump in customer inquiries, including from those buying a home for investment.

“The sun is shining all over again now,” said mortgage broker Tony Bice at Sydney-based Finance Made Easy.

Bice cited the unexpected re-election of the country’s pro-business coalition government a little over a week ago and predictions of an Australia rate cut as soon as next month for the improvement in sentiment.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) proposal to ease stress test on mortgages was the “most interesting” policy change, Bice said. Analysts expect the regulator’s move would boost customers’ borrowing capacity.

“My inquiries since the last week has risen dramatically. I have written 11 loans in the last 4 days. In the past, you’d be lucky to write 11 loans in two weeks.” Bice told Reuters.

“A lot of my clients are holding off until June to see what the Reserve Bank does. If they drop the cash rate, I expect banks to follow suit. That will finally revive the market.”

With growth sputtering and inflation at a low ebb, Philip Lowe, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) last week gave the strongest signal yet that rates were about to move lower soon. And an overwhelming majority of economists are now predicting a cut in the cash rate to 1.25% from a record-low of 1.5% at the RBA’s June 4 policy meeting.

UNDER THE HAMMER

Auction activity – a closely-watched measure of demand in Australia – over the weekend provided the first major test for the market following the policy changes.

There were 1,933 capital city auctions on Saturday, double the amount from the previous week, and preliminary data showed a modest pick-up in demand. Clearance rates nudged above 60% for the two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne, compared to 50%-57% over the past year.

The promise of lower rates and easy credit led economists to predict a less steeper drop in home prices. Citi now sees a peak-to-trough fall of 7.5% by June 2019 from 10% previously. AMP’s Shane Oliver predicts a 12% top-to-bottom decline, from an earlier forecast of 15%.

Yet, few expect the boom days to return in a hurry.

“We see broadly flat house prices for 2020,” Oliver said.

“Given still high house prices and poor affordability, still very high debt levels, tighter lending standards and rising unemployment a quick return to boom time conditions is most unlikely.”

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

An earth mover prepares the foundation of new apartment block development in the waterfront suburb of Rushcutters Bay
An earth mover prepares the foundation of new apartment block development in the waterfront suburb of Rushcutters Bay, Australia, December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

May 26, 2019

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s crumbling housing market looks set to stabilize over coming months as hopes of interest rate cuts and loosening of mortgage rules have boosted buyer inquiries, property and mortgage brokers say.

Home prices across Australia have fallen rapidly since late-2017, heightening worries among policymakers that a prolonged decline would deal a severe blow to the country’s already slowing economy.

While industry watchers say a return to boom times is unlikely anytime soon, they point to signs suggesting a bottoming-out for the sector is imminent.

Economists, including those at AMP and Citibank, last week re-jigged their forecasts to pencil in a less steeper decline in home prices than previously predicted. Several property and mortgage brokers who spoke to Reuters on Friday also said they have seen a noticeable jump in customer inquiries, including from those buying a home for investment.

“The sun is shining all over again now,” said mortgage broker Tony Bice at Sydney-based Finance Made Easy.

Bice cited the unexpected re-election of the country’s pro-business coalition government a little over a week ago and predictions of an Australia rate cut as soon as next month for the improvement in sentiment.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) proposal to ease stress test on mortgages was the “most interesting” policy change, Bice said. Analysts expect the regulator’s move would boost customers’ borrowing capacity.

“My inquiries since the last week has risen dramatically. I have written 11 loans in the last 4 days. In the past, you’d be lucky to write 11 loans in two weeks.” Bice told Reuters.

“A lot of my clients are holding off until June to see what the Reserve Bank does. If they drop the cash rate, I expect banks to follow suit. That will finally revive the market.”

With growth sputtering and inflation at a low ebb, Philip Lowe, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) last week gave the strongest signal yet that rates were about to move lower soon. And an overwhelming majority of economists are now predicting a cut in the cash rate to 1.25% from a record-low of 1.5% at the RBA’s June 4 policy meeting.

UNDER THE HAMMER

Auction activity – a closely-watched measure of demand in Australia – over the weekend provided the first major test for the market following the policy changes.

There were 1,933 capital city auctions on Saturday, double the amount from the previous week, and preliminary data showed a modest pick-up in demand. Clearance rates nudged above 60% for the two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne, compared to 50%-57% over the past year.

The promise of lower rates and easy credit led economists to predict a less steeper drop in home prices. Citi now sees a peak-to-trough fall of 7.5% by June 2019 from 10% previously. AMP’s Shane Oliver predicts a 12% top-to-bottom decline, from an earlier forecast of 15%.

Yet, few expect the boom days to return in a hurry.

“We see broadly flat house prices for 2020,” Oliver said.

“Given still high house prices and poor affordability, still very high debt levels, tighter lending standards and rising unemployment a quick return to boom time conditions is most unlikely.”

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump urged Japanese business leaders on Saturday to increase their investment in the United States while he chided Japan for having a “substantial edge” on trade that negotiators were trying to even out in a bilateral deal.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial state visit meant to showcase strong ties even though trade relations are problematical. In the evening, the Tokyo Sky Tree tower was lit up red, white and blue in Trump’s honor.

Shortly after arriving at the airport to a red-carpet welcome, Trump attended a reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty that the White House said included Japanese business executives from Toyota, Nissan , Honda, SoftBank and Rakuten.

Trump told the company officials there had never been a better time to invest in the United States and repeated a complaint that the Federal Reserve’s policies had kept U.S. economic growth from reaching its full potential.

With trade talks ongoing, Trump also got in a dig at Japan and said he wanted a deal to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.

Trade is one of Trump’s signature issues, and encouraging foreign investment in the United States is a hallmark of his trips abroad.

Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a round of golf, a sumo tournament and a private dinner.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

STILL GAPS

Trade is likely to be addressed during a formal meeting on Monday between Trump and Abe, but even a partial trade agreement isn’t expected, said Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi after meeting his counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in Tokyo on Saturday.

Motegi said there was no discussion of Trump’s decision to declare some auto imports a national security threat.

“We deepened our understanding of each other’s positions on trade. However, we’re not in complete agreement,” Motegi told reporters following the talks. “There are still some gaps. We need to work to narrow our differences.”

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China, and trade tensions als als simmering with Japan and the European Union.

Trump’s Japan trip is largely ceremonial in nature. The president will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month; he and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host an elaborate dinner for the Trumps on Monday night.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival. The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Donald Trump urged Japanese business leaders on Saturday to increase their investment in the United States while he chided Japan for having a “substantial edge” on trade that negotiators were trying to even out in a bilateral deal.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial state visit meant to showcase strong ties even though trade relations are problematical. In the evening, the Tokyo Sky Tree tower was lit up red, white and blue in Trump’s honor.

Shortly after arriving at the airport to a red-carpet welcome, Trump attended a reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty that the White House said included Japanese business executives from Toyota, Nissan , Honda, SoftBank and Rakuten.

Trump told the company officials there had never been a better time to invest in the United States and repeated a complaint that the Federal Reserve’s policies had kept U.S. economic growth from reaching its full potential.

With trade talks ongoing, Trump also got in a dig at Japan and said he wanted a deal to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.

Trade is one of Trump’s signature issues, and encouraging foreign investment in the United States is a hallmark of his trips abroad.

Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a round of golf, a sumo tournament and a private dinner.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

STILL GAPS

Trade is likely to be addressed during a formal meeting on Monday between Trump and Abe, but even a partial trade agreement isn’t expected, said Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi after meeting his counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in Tokyo on Saturday.

Motegi said there was no discussion of Trump’s decision to declare some auto imports a national security threat.

“We deepened our understanding of each other’s positions on trade. However, we’re not in complete agreement,” Motegi told reporters following the talks. “There are still some gaps. We need to work to narrow our differences.”

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China, and trade tensions als als simmering with Japan and the European Union.

Trump’s Japan trip is largely ceremonial in nature. The president will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month; he and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host an elaborate dinner for the Trumps on Monday night.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival. The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Donald Trump urged Japanese business leaders on Saturday to increase their investment in the United States while he chided Japan for having a “substantial edge” on trade that negotiators were trying to even out in a bilateral deal.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial state visit meant to showcase strong ties even though trade relations are problematical. In the evening, the Tokyo Sky Tree tower was lit up red, white and blue in Trump’s honor.

Shortly after arriving at the airport to a red-carpet welcome, Trump attended a reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty that the White House said included Japanese business executives from Toyota, Nissan , Honda, SoftBank and Rakuten.

Trump told the company officials there had never been a better time to invest in the United States and repeated a complaint that the Federal Reserve’s policies had kept U.S. economic growth from reaching its full potential.

With trade talks ongoing, Trump also got in a dig at Japan and said he wanted a deal to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.

Trade is one of Trump’s signature issues, and encouraging foreign investment in the United States is a hallmark of his trips abroad.

Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a round of golf, a sumo tournament and a private dinner.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

STILL GAPS

Trade is likely to be addressed during a formal meeting on Monday between Trump and Abe, but even a partial trade agreement isn’t expected, said Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi after meeting his counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in Tokyo on Saturday.

Motegi said there was no discussion of Trump’s decision to declare some auto imports a national security threat.

“We deepened our understanding of each other’s positions on trade. However, we’re not in complete agreement,” Motegi told reporters following the talks. “There are still some gaps. We need to work to narrow our differences.”

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China, and trade tensions als als simmering with Japan and the European Union.

Trump’s Japan trip is largely ceremonial in nature. The president will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month; he and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host an elaborate dinner for the Trumps on Monday night.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival. The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria
Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

May 25, 2019

By Nqobile Dludla

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth.

Ramaphosa, who becomes the country’s fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria.

“Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal,” said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities … A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests.

Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.

Ramaphosa narrowly won the ANC leadership race in late 2017 and replaced scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma as state president in February 2018, a year before the latter’s term was due to expire.

Since then he has struggled to mend factions in the party opposed to his reform plans, especially at cash-strapped state power supplier Eskom. His promises to punish party members accused of corruption have also stuttered.

The challenges facing Ramaphosa were highlighted on Friday by the resignation of Eskom’s chief executive, who quit only a year since he was appointed to stabilize the utility and keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts.

Also on Friday, S&P Global Ratings kept South Africa’s credit rating unchanged one notch below investment grade.

The economy is set for a first quarter contraction after mining and manufacturing weakened, prompting the central bank to cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1%, well below the rate of at least 3% needed to bring down debt, budget deficits and joblessness.

“The challenges our country faces are huge and are real but they are not insurmountable. They can be solved and I stand here to say they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa said in his speech on Saturday.

Many in the crowd at Pretoria’s packed Loftus stadium were optimistic.

“I love my president Cyril Ramaphosa. I know that as long as we have him here he is going to give us jobs and change many things,” said Patience Shabangu, 45, a volunteer at a local clinic.

Political analysts say a key test of Ramaphosa’s ability to deliver reforms will be his announcement of new cabinet, which is expected to take place next week.

“The speech was an honest and brutal reflection of South Africa’s recent problems. But it was also optimistic,” said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy.

“He will be judged on a very high bar and the next step is the cabinet. If it contains any semblance of the dead wood from the past he will be severely critiqued,” Silke added.

(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria
Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

May 25, 2019

By Nqobile Dludla

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth.

Ramaphosa, who becomes the country’s fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria.

“Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal,” said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities … A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests.

Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.

Ramaphosa narrowly won the ANC leadership race in late 2017 and replaced scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma as state president in February 2018, a year before the latter’s term was due to expire.

Since then he has struggled to mend factions in the party opposed to his reform plans, especially at cash-strapped state power supplier Eskom. His promises to punish party members accused of corruption have also stuttered.

The challenges facing Ramaphosa were highlighted on Friday by the resignation of Eskom’s chief executive, who quit only a year since he was appointed to stabilize the utility and keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts.

Also on Friday, S&P Global Ratings kept South Africa’s credit rating unchanged one notch below investment grade.

The economy is set for a first quarter contraction after mining and manufacturing weakened, prompting the central bank to cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1%, well below the rate of at least 3% needed to bring down debt, budget deficits and joblessness.

“The challenges our country faces are huge and are real but they are not insurmountable. They can be solved and I stand here to say they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa said in his speech on Saturday.

Many in the crowd at Pretoria’s packed Loftus stadium were optimistic.

“I love my president Cyril Ramaphosa. I know that as long as we have him here he is going to give us jobs and change many things,” said Patience Shabangu, 45, a volunteer at a local clinic.

Political analysts say a key test of Ramaphosa’s ability to deliver reforms will be his announcement of new cabinet, which is expected to take place next week.

“The speech was an honest and brutal reflection of South Africa’s recent problems. But it was also optimistic,” said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy.

“He will be judged on a very high bar and the next step is the cabinet. If it contains any semblance of the dead wood from the past he will be severely critiqued,” Silke added.

(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit Japan
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Tokyo Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

May 25, 2019

By Jeff Mason

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump urged Japanese business leaders on Saturday to increase their investment in the United States while he chided Japan for having a “substantial edge” on trade that negotiators were trying to even out in a bilateral deal.

Trump arrived in Japan on Saturday for a largely ceremonial state visit meant to showcase strong ties even though trade relations are problematical. In the evening, the Tokyo Sky Tree tower was lit up red, white and blue in Trump’s honor.

Shortly after arriving at the airport to a red-carpet welcome, Trump attended a reception at the residence of U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty that the White House said included Japanese business executives from Toyota, Nissan, Honda, SoftBank and Rakuten.

Trump told the company officials there had never been a better time to invest in the United States and repeated a complaint that the Federal Reserve’s policies had kept U.S. economic growth from reaching its full potential.

With trade talks ongoing, Trump also got in a dig at Japan and said he wanted a deal to address the trade imbalance between the two countries.

“Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that’s OK, maybe that’s why you like us so much,” he said.

“With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, removing barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship,” Trump said.

Trade is one of Trump’s signature issues, and encouraging foreign investment in the United States is a hallmark of his trips abroad.

Trump will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for a round of golf, a sumo tournament and a private dinner.

The two men share a warm relationship, which the Japanese leader aims to emphasize as Washington considers tariffs on Japanese auto exports that the Trump administration views as a potential national security threat.

The United States is in the middle of an expensive trade war with China in protest against Beijing’s treatment of U.S. companies, and tensions with Japan and the European Union over trade are simmering.

Trump and Abe are expected to address trade during more formal talks on Monday, but officials have played down the possibility of a deal during the visit. North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are also likely to be on the agenda.

The trip is largely ceremonial in nature. The president will become the first foreign leader to be received by new Japanese Emperor Naruhito since he inherited the throne earlier this month; he and Harvard-educated Empress Masako will host an elaborate dinner for the Trumps on Monday night.

A medium-strength earthquake hit eastern Japan, causing buildings to shake in Tokyo, hours before Trump’s arrival.

The epicenter was southern Chiba, southeast of the capital, the prefecture where Trump is due to play golf on Sunday.

No tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Jeff Mason and Malcolm Foster; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN


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