While the Internet response looked at how little Trump knew about the industry (Japanese companies had been building automobiles in North America for decades), the reality was much more nuanced.

Trump further said: "Several Japanese car companies have really done a job and we love it when you build cars – if you are a Japanese company, we love it – try to get your cars in the United States Is that possible to inquire? This is not rude. Is that rude? I do not believe. "

He went to great lengths to congratulate and thank Toyota and Mazda for investing $ 1.6 billion in building a new manufacturing facility in the United States, which is estimated to create 4,000 jobs. Trump also said he wanted to help Japanese automakers understand that the US wanted their business and received the necessary manufacturing permits within the country, and repeatedly thanked them for "trusting the United States."

While it's not particularly hard to paint the president as a bullish donkey, we do not want the automotive news to be misrepresented . It was not a perfect meeting as it subtly suggested that Japan could do more in North America. But he seems to be aware of where the industry has been spending its money and doing business in recent decades. We know that because he said that.

The purpose of the meeting was to do more business in the West and earn some kindness, and he may even have achieved that, despite the widespread mis-characterization of how the encounter actually went. Fortunately, some stores were somewhat more objective – The Washington Post was among the first.

Some reviews are fair, as Japan already accounts for a third of all domestic production in the US. Maybe the country is already doing enough considering that much of what its automakers sell in the West is built there too. But there is no indication that the president did not know that from his statements. Still, Trump has made some legitimate claims about German cars in the past – suggesting that they were "very bad" even though German automakers are the largest domestic exporter of value in the US

The key to this meeting – and the cornerstone of the American trade deficit with Japan – however, was to get more North American cars sold out to the East. This is something that Japan has had great problems with in the past. "Our trade with Japan is not fair and it is not open," he said Monday. "The US has had massive trade deficits with Japan for many, many years."

This first bit is controversial, and we have dealt with this topic in the past. Our takeaway was that Japan just does not care about American automobiles nor has it been since tail fins have gone out of fashion. So there is a lot of room for improvement in the region. We do not expect Trump's visit to change anything, but maybe this could lay the groundwork for a fairer exchange – but do not rely on it.



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