Trump says to push Japan for more 'reciprocal' trade, in a friendly way

TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, charging "Japan has been winning" on trade in recent decades, said he would push for more reciprocal trade with Washington's close U.S. ally - but in a friendly way.

Trump was speaking in Tokyo on the second day of a 12-day Asian trip expected to be dominated by North Korea and trade.

"We have to do more. The United States has suffered massive trade deficits at the hands of Japan for many, many years," Trump said at the start of a meeting with Japanese business leaders. "We have to negotiate," he said, adding it would be done in a friendly manner.

Trump also said Washington wants to make the United States the most attractive place to hire, invest and grow.

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"We want free and reciprocal trade, but right now, our trade with Japan is not free and it's not reciprocal, but I know that it will be," he said.

Japan had a $69-billion trade surplus with the United States last year, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The U.S. leader, who met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday for golf, lunch and dinner, will hold a more formal summit with Abe later on Monday.

In a second round of economic talks in Washington last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as deputy premier, failed to bridge differences on thorny trade issues.

The two sides remain at odds over how to frame future trade talks, with Tokyo pushing back against U.S. calls to discuss a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).

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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One to depart for Japan from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, U.S. November 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses members of U.S. military services and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) at U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses members of U.S. military services and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) at U.S. Air Force Yokota Air Base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Supporters hold signs as they wait for U.S. President Donald Trump outside Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan November 5, 2017. Trump is due to play golf at the club with Japan?s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. REUTERS/Issei Kato
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Japan?s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold hats they signed, reading "Donald & Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater" before lunch and a round of golf at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, Japan November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon his arrival at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, near Tokyo, Japan, 05 November 2017. REUTERS/Frank Robichon/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump departs after a round of golf with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, Japan November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Japanese professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama looks on, as they play golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, Japan, in this photo taken and released by Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office via Kyodo November 5, 2017. Mandatory credit Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office via Kyodo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN.
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Trump also said that an Indo-Pacific trade framework would produce more in trade that the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact pushed by his predecessor but which he announced Washington would abandon soon after he took office.

"TPP was not the right answer," he said, adding he knew not everyone in his audience agreed. "We will have much bigger trade with the way we are doing it right now and it will be a much less complex situation."

The 11 remaining nations in the TPP, to which Japan's Abe is firmly committed, are edging closer to sealing a comprehensive free trade pact without the United States.

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