Exclusive: Japan considers buying more U.S. energy as Abe prepares to meet Trump

Thu Feb 2, 2017 3:34am EST
 
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By Tomo Uetake and Nobuhiro Kubo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering increasing energy imports from the United States, two sources familiar with the plan told Reuters, as he prepares to meet President Donald Trump, who has complained about Japan's trade surplus.

Japan is putting together a package of plans for Japanese companies to invest in infrastructure and job-creation projects in the United States for Abe to take to the Feb. 10 meeting with Trump in Washington.

Another idea is to offer to increase liquid natural gas (LNG) imports from the United States, a source in the ruling coalition told Reuters.

Another option, if Abe determines that Trump is most concerned about the trade gap, is to increase imports of U.S. shale oil or gas on top of the investment package, according to a top executive at a major Japanese corporation who is close to Abe.

Japanese officials have been scrambling to respond to Trump's scattershot comments since he took office.

He has threatened to impose a tax on car imports from Mexico, criticized Japan's trade gap with the United States and most recently accused Japan, along with China and Germany, of devaluing their currencies to the detriment of U.S. companies.

"(Abe) wants to know what's the most important thing for Trump," said the executive, who declined to be identified.

"If it is the trade surplus that Trump cares the most about, for instance, then we could come up with a few possible solutions," including importing more U.S. shale oil or gas.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO -  Snow covered transfer lines are seen at the Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Lusby, Maryland March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo