Taro Aso, who heads bilateral talks with the United States on economic issues, said in remarks to parliament on Thursday that Japan should not be pushed into bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) talks in return for exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs, Reuters reported.
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed a decree excluding Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, the European Union and Australia, along with Canada and Mexico, from tariffs until May.
Aso, who is also Japan's finance minister, said his country had consistently stressed its avoidance of trade attributes with the world's largest economy.
He pointed out that Japan exports only special steel products with a distinct market share, noting that US companies can not produce.
Trump said the non-listed countries could discuss ways to address national security concerns arising from steel imports with Washington.
If the United States wanted these products, it would need to buy them from Japan, otherwise American companies would suffer, he said.
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