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Trump versus Abe -- the trade end game

US president struggling to squeeze tough deal out of Japan

| Japan
The Abe-Trump summit shows how Trump has driven U.S. trade policy into a dead end.   © Reuters

Amid all the bluster and distraction, there has always been one claim at the heart of President Donald Trump's trade policy -- he could bring home deals that were better for the United States than those negotiated by his predecessors. He would use America's strength, in one on one negotiations with the country's largest trading partners, to extract concessions that other presidents had been too feckless to demand.

Now, more than two years into a presidency in which Congress and U.S. companies have shown extraordinary patience in allowing Trump to try to make good on his promise, it is clear that Trump has been unable to change the laws of trade negotiating physics. One-sided negotiations of the sort he prefers are likely to fail simply because they are one-sided.

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