Trump and Abe talk trade as well as relations with North Korea

Hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, US President Donald Trump said the tariffs could be a topic during the visit. (AP)
Updated 18 April 2018
0

Trump and Abe talk trade as well as relations with North Korea

  • The two-day Trump-Abe summit played out amid growing tensions between the two countries over North Korea and trade
  • Abe had been expected to urge to Trump to exempt Japan from the tariffs and press him on the missile issue

PALM BEACH, Florida: Seeking to reassure Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of their close alliance ahead of planned talks with North Korea, the Trump administration has signaled it is open to considering exempting Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs that Abe opposes.
Hosting Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Trump said the tariffs could be a topic during the visit, which comes as Trump prepares for a historic summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Trump also gave Abe a win on Tuesday, pledging to raise the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, a top Japanese priority, in his meeting with Kim.
But Trump later suggested there was one area where he and Abe would have to agree to disagree: the Trans-Pacific trade partnership, which Trump pulled the US out of days after his inauguration, but has recently said he might be open to re-joining.
“While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States,” Trump tweeted, following a dinner with Abe and their wives. “Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers.”
The two-day Trump-Abe summit played out amid growing tensions between the two countries over North Korea and trade. Japan has warned that Kim may simply be trying to buy time and has raised concerns that the US might not press Kim to abandon his short- and medium-range missiles, which pose an immediate threat to Japan, as they discuss the country’s nuclear weapons program.
Japan has also been questioning why it wasn’t granted exemptions to Trump’s protectionist measures on steel and aluminum when most other key US allies — among them Australia, Canada, the EU and Mexico — have been.
But Abe spent much of Tuesday praising Trump’s courage for agreeing to meet and suggested the two had already come to terms on several contentions issues.
Speaking through a translator during one of their meetings, Abe said he and Trump had had “very in-depth discussions” on both North Korea and economic issues and said that “on those two points” they had “successfully forged a mutual understanding.”
The two did not reveal what those agreements were, but Abe had been expected to urge to Trump to exempt Japan from the tariffs and press him on the missile issue.
Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, had said earlier Tuesday that issuing Japan the waiver was “on the table,” but he declined to say what Trump would ask for in return.
The talks came amid news that CIA Director Mike Pompeo had recently traveled in secret to North Korea to meet with Kim ahead of a US-North Korea summit planned in the next two months. Two officials confirmed the trip to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The officials were not authorized to discuss the visit publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
In the first news report about the meeting, The Washington Post said it had taken place two weeks ago, shortly after the CIA chief was nominated to become secretary of state.
Trump had revealed earlier Tuesday that the US and North Korea had been holding direct talks at “extremely high levels” in preparation for the summit. Trump also confirmed that North and South Korea are negotiating an end to hostilities before next week’s meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The meeting will be the third inter-Korean summit since the Koreas’ 1945 division.
“They do have my blessing to discuss the end of the war,” Trump said.
Trump said five locations for the summit are under consideration.
Trump took credit for the inter-Korean talks, saying, “Without us and without me, in particular, I guess you would have to say, they wouldn’t be discussing anything.”


Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

Updated 18 September 2019

Lloyd’s of London profits quadruple on investment gains

  • Specialist insurer reports first-half pre-tax profit of $2.87 billion

LONDON: The 330-year old specialist insurance market Lloyd's of London reported a first-half pre-tax profit of 2.3 billion pounds ($2.87 billion) on Thursday, up nearly fourfold on investment gains and a cutback in underperforming business.
Lloyd's, which covers commercial risks from oil risks to footballers' legs, suffered steep losses in 2017 and 2018 due to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires.
Lloyd's last year told its 99 member syndicates to ditch the worst performing 10% of their businesses.
"It is encouraging that the Lloyd's market is showing increased discipline in 2019," Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.
"We need to make some brave choices on how to meet the expectations of our customers and all our stakeholders in the future."
The market has proposed its members move to electronic exchanges next year, as it responds to competition from cheaper rivals.
Further details of the strategic changes will be released on Sept 30.
Net investment income rose to 2.3 billion pounds from 0.2 billion a year earlier, helped by strong equity returns.
Gross written premiums rose 1.7% to 19.7 billion pounds but the company's combined ratio, a measure of underwriting performance in which a level below 100% indicates a profit, weakened to 98.8% from 95.5%.
The results compare with a profit of 0.6 billion pounds a year ago.
Premium rates rose by an average of 3.9%, Lloyd's said.
Lloyd's in May asked the Banking Standards Board to conduct a survey of the insurance market's 45,000 participants on issues such as honesty and respect to help to improve its working environment, following allegations of sexual harassment at member firms.
The survey will be published on Sept 24, Neal said on Thursday.