The Latest: Kudlow says tariff waiver for Japan on table

The Latest on President Donald Trump hosting Japan’s Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago (all times local):

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1:05 p.m.

The White House is leaving open the option of providing exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs for Japan as President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepare to kick off a two-day summit in Florida.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, says issuing Japan the waiver to the Trump-ordered sanctions or opening negotiations on a new trade agreement with Japan are “all on the table.”

Most other key U.S. allies, including Australia, Canada, the European Union, and Mexico have been granted exemptions to the protectionist measures, which went into effect last month. Obtaining a waiver is a priority for Abe at the summit.

Trump last week directed Kudlow to lead the administration’s reconsideration of rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade accord, but Kudlow says right now, it’s more thought than policy.

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12:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump will play host to Japan’s Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago this week amid growing strain between the two countries over the president’s planned meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his push for new tariffs.

The visit, beginning Tuesday, will be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, which Japan eyes warily.

It will also serve as a test of whether the fond personal relationship the two leaders have forged on the golf course and over meetings and phone calls has chilled over Trump’s recent moves, including his failure to exempt Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that she expects the visit to be “very positive.”

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