Japan’s national broadcasting organization NHK reported Monday that Japanese companies will import some 2.5 million tons of corn from the United States, independent of the bilateral trade deal between the two countries. The agreement came amid the ongoing trade spat between the United States and China, which led Beijing to suspend the purchase of corn from Washington.
“Prime Minister Abe, on behalf of Japan, they’re going to be buying all of that corn,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a joint press conference after his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday (local time). “We’ve agreed in principle. It’s billions and billions of dollars. Tremendous for the farmers.”
“We have excess corn in various parts of our country, with our farmers, because China did not do what they said they were going to do,” Trump added. “I just want to thank Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people. You’ve been a fantastic friend.”
Meanwhile, Abe drew a line by saying, “This (the potential purchase of American corn) will be done by the Japanese private sector.” In response to this comment, Trump said, “The Japanese private sector listens to the Japanese public sector very strongly. It’s a little different than it is in our country perhaps. But they have great respect for the public sector.”
At the summit, the two countries reached an agreement in principle on a trade deal they have worked on since April. They are expected to sign the deal around the U.N. General Assembly in New York next month. Under the deal, Japan will allow greater market access to U.S. farm products in exchange for the reduction of tariffs on its industrial exports.