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Remarks at a Reception With Japanese Business Leaders in Tokyo, Japan

May 25, 2019

The President. Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much. We just spent many, many hours on the plane. You know the flight probably as well as I do. And here we are. We just walked off the plane, and here we are, along with probably 40 of the greatest business leaders in the world. So thank you very much. Please sit down. Thank you.

Thank you, Ambassador Hagerty. And you've been doing a fantastic job. Everybody is talking about the job. Do we like the job he's doing, folks? [Applause] Right? And we really have strengthened the enduring alliance between the United States and Japan; it's very special. And the relationship that I have with Prime Minister Abe is very special. We greatly appreciate all of your hard work in organizing this wonderful event. And, Mrs. Hagerty, thank you very much. Fantastic job. Thank you.

The First Lady and I are thrilled to be with you as we celebrate Japan's Reiwa Era—very special time—and affirm the close economic ties between our two nations. This evening we're delighted to be joined by Ambassador Lighthizer. Where is Bob? They didn't give you a great seat, Bob. Huh? What happened? [Laughter] Who has been very busy negotiating deals and doing a fantastic job. Thank you very much, Bob. It's great you're here. As well as Mr. Peter Jennings, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Thank you very much. Thank you, Peter. Fantastic. Thank you.

Also in the room tonight are dozens of the distinguished representatives from the American and Japanese communities. The greatest business men and women in the world. You really have some people that are—just been incredible and incredible investors in our country. Thank you very much.

You said, if I win, you're going to put $50 billion, and you put the $50 billion in.

SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son. More.

The President. Now he says more. He actually raised it to a hundred billion. That's true. It's probably higher than that too. Thank you very much. I appreciate that confidence.

We also appreciate all of your spouses being here. Very special people. Without the spouses, it doesn't work. That, we will all admit. So thank you all for being here.

We're deeply grateful to you for your presence. And the relationship with Japan and the United States, I can say for a fact, has never been stronger. It's never been more powerful. Never been closer.

This is a very exciting time for commerce between the two countries that we both love. The United States and Japan are two of the largest economies in the world. You're right there. You're doing fantastically well. I was looking very closely on the ride over at some of the numbers being produced in Japan, and you're doing great.

Today, we're cooperating closely across many industries, including defense, technology, digital economy, and energy; also infrastructure, science, and so much more.

As you know, the United States and Japan are hard at work negotiating a bilateral trade agreement, which will benefit both of our countries. I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's okay. Maybe that's why you like us so much. [Laughter] But we'll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we'll do that. We also have a tremendous relationship on the military. And Japan is ordering a great deal of military equipment. We make the best equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best rockets—the best everything. So Japan is doing very large orders, and we appreciate that, and we think it's probably appropriate right now with everything that's going on. The world is changing.

With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we're getting closer.

Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon, and some very big ones over the next few months. And we're also here, as you know, for a very special occasion, not having to do with trade. We all know about that.

Our nations are also working together to promote mutually beneficial investment. The United States is currently Japan's top foreign direct investor, by far. And overall, Japanese investment in the United States supports nearly a million jobs, and that number is going up very rapidly. In fact, we're looking at projections, with all of the money coming in for the new auto plants and other things: that number will be doubled in a very short period of time.

Over the past 2 years alone, Japan has invested tens of billions of dollars in the United States. In March, Toyota—where's Toyota?

U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty IV. Right there.

The President. Huh? I thought that was you. Please, stand up. [Laughter] That's pretty big stuff, right? Thank you very much. We appreciate it very much. Thank you. Which is represented, and a number of people. But we have the boss. There's nothing like the boss. Thank you.

Recently announced new investments of $750 million and increased its 5-year investment plan to $13 billion—appreciate it—with plans to add many, many new American manufacturing jobs.

And last month, Softbank and Denso—where are they? Please. Where are they? Well, this guy. Where is—do you have another? Or do you—that's what I thought. Thank you very much. Thank you. Appreciate it. Joined Toyota in announcing a $1 billion investment to help Uber develop self-driving cars and technology. And I guess self-driving cars are becoming a bigger and bigger thing. What do you think? Yes? That's the future. If you say that's the future, I'm okay with it.

Participant. Yes. [Laughter]

The President. It seems very strange when you look over and there's nobody behind a car going 60 miles an hour. [Laughter] But when you say it, I'm good with it.

I hope many of you in the room will also significantly increase your investments in the United States. There's no better place to invest. You look at what's happened with our stock market. It's up almost 50 percent since my election in 2016. We have the best employment numbers we've ever had, as of this week. We have almost 160 million people working. It's the most we've ever had working.

And we have the best unemployment numbers we've ever had, specifically on groups: African American, Asian American, Hispanic American. The best, historically. With women, we have the best numbers we've had in now 71 years. That's going to be, very soon, a historic number, meaning the best ever. So there's never been a better time to invest and to do business in the United States. We have some interesting trade deals going on—I'm sure you haven't read too much about it—with China and some others. But it seems to be working along, actually, quite well.

Last year, for the first time in a decade, the United States was ranked the most competitive economy anywhere in the world. During that year, our economy grew at 3 percent. And if the Fed didn't raise interest rates, frankly, it would've been much higher than 3 percent. And the stock market, as high as it's been, would've been at least, I think, probably anywhere from seven to ten thousand points higher. But they wanted to raise interest rates. You'll explain that to me. [Laughter]

According to the World Economic Forum, our financial system and business dynamics and labor market all ranked number one anywhere in the world. Manufacturing and small business optimism have set alltime records, and consumer confidence has just surged to a 21-year high. So they do studies, they do polls, and we're literally at the top of every study and every poll. So that's good. The optimism is what it's all about, when you think about it.

We slashed our corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to one of the lowest in the developed world. We took it down—I mean, some people could say we're at 41, 42 percent—different places, different areas. But we took it down from probably, on average, 41, 42 percent—depending on what State you're talking about; sometimes, much higher than that—to 21 percent. And people were pretty amazed that we got that through. But what it meant is tremendous investment and jobs. Because capital investment is now 100-percent deductible, and that's something that people thought would never happen, they'd never see.

You have 1-year deductions, where it used to be, in many cases, 40-year deductions. And we've cut redtape and job-killing regulation at an unprecedented rate, the most ever by a President. And you could take 4 years or 8 years or more than that, in one case, and the fact is that nobody has ever cut regulations like we have.

We've eliminated more than 30,000 pages from the Federal Register of regulations. These are all regulations. Thousands and thousands of pages, they're all gone. And we still have regulation, but it's sensible regulation. It's environmentally excellent. And things are getting done.

In Louisiana—I just left Louisiana a few days ago—they opened an LNG plant. It's a $10 billion investment. Many Japanese investors, actually, in that plant. Anybody in this room investing in that plant, in Louisiana? It just opened. It's too bad because——

Ambassador Hagerty. Right there.

The President. Where?

Ambassador Hagerty. Right back at the back table there, sir.

The President. Congratulations. Because I hear you're sold out for 20 years, right? That's been a good one. Are you happy with the investment?

Participant. Oh, yes.

The President. Okay, good. I think you would be. I've heard it's been very good.

But we got the permits. That was stuck for years and years and years, where they couldn't get permits. We got the permits as soon as I got into office. I made sure that people were able to get permits to build. And that LNG plant is one of the biggest in the world. It is absolutely magnificent.

Of course, most people have no idea what they're looking at. This is a building that's a mile and half long, and it's all pipes. It's all pipes. But in those pipes are where a lot of energy is being produced. And they were telling me the numbers and the amounts; it's incredible. And now they're building many more. So we're going to—we're really doing something very special.

The United States, as you know, has become the number-one country in the world, during my administration—2½ years—in energy. So we're now number one in the world. And actually, we're number one in the world, by far. And if I get the pipelines approved in Texas, which have been under consideration for many, many years—we'll get them done quickly, because it's a good thing—and if we get that, we'll be up another 20 to 25 percent. Just that one move with the pipelines.

We were able to do the, as you know, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we're able to do many pipelines. Many, many, pipelines got approved that were stuck. They were absolutely stuck. You know the Keystone XL Pipeline—the big one—I did that in my first week in office. Forty-eight thousand jobs. And that's now under construction.

So we want U.S. companies. We want Japanese companies. We want firms from all around the world to build and hire and grow in the United States. It really is a special place. And we really have made it much easier. We've gotten rid of a lot of the redtape.

As an example, if you look at the various types of plants, nobody was getting them approved. Nobody was getting them out of the EPA. You couldn't get refineries done. You couldn't get anything. We were sending our raw product way far away to foreign countries to have it refined. And then, we'd bring it back to the United States. And now we have plants, the likes of which nobody has ever seen, actually.

Commerce between the United States and Japan is essential to ensuring a future of peace and prosperity for all of our citizens. That relationship is so important.

And I will say this: I met with some of our generals this morning, before we left, and the relationship they have with the Japanese generals has been incredible. And they have tremendous respect for them too. Tremendous respect.

If you join in seizing the incredible opportunities now before us, in terms of investments in the United States, I think you're going to see tremendous return on your investments.

It's my sincere hope that the Reiwa Era, the economic ties between the United States and Japan continue to grow deeper and stronger, if that's possible. I think we, right now, probably have the best relationship with Japan that we've ever had. And that goes back a long way. But I don't think it's ever been better. This probably is the best. And we're going to keep it that way.

So I look forward to seeing you all. I look forward to shaking your hands right now. I know the media—finally, we'll get them to go back and rest, because many of them came on the flight with us, and I'm sure they want to go home. I'm sure they wouldn't want to stick around and—[laughter]—hear any of these conversations.

But anyway. But we had a good time on the flight. We had a great flight. And it's an honor to be with you again. I've been to Japan many times and have so many friends, and they are just—it's a great place with great, great people. Really, great, great people.

Thank you very much. And let's say hello to everybody. Thank you. And thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 6:05 p.m. at the U.S. Ambassador's residence. In his remarks, he referred to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer; and Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corp. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 26.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Reception With Japanese Business Leaders in Tokyo, Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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