TOKYO: Japan’s exports dropped 7.8 per cent from a year earlier to 5.8 trillion yen ($53.8 billion) in May for the sixth consecutive month of falls, the government said on Wednesday, as China’s economic slowdown continued to hit Japanese exporters.
Exports to China, Japan’s largest trade partner, declined 9.7 per cent year-on-year to 1.1 trillion yen, while imports edged down 0.9 per cent to 1.5 trillion yen, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.
Japan’s overall imports fell 1.5 per cent to 6.8 trillion yen, which resulted in a trade deficit of 967.1 billion yen for the first shortfall in four months, the ministry said.
Japan’s trade surplus with the United States jumped 14.8 per cent from a year earlier to 395 billion yen with exports growing 3.3 per cent to 1.2 trillion yen and imports down 1.6 per cent to 792.8 billion yen.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised Japan’s chronic trade surplus with his country, urging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to balance the US trade deficit with the world’s third-largest economy.
At a US congressional hearing in Washington on Tuesday, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer called for prioritising a deal with Tokyo on agricultural tariff cuts as part of efforts to conclude a bilateral trade agreement, Kyodo News agency reported.
“What I have proposed doing is to try to take care of a couple of the issues, particularly agriculture, early. We don’t want to wait the length of time for an entire negotiation,” Lighthizer said. — dpa