• Kyodo

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Japan and the United States plan to hold the first of their vice ministerial-level talks, called the Economic Dialogue, in Tokyo next month, trade sources said Wednesday.

The dialogue is part of a new framework for bilateral economic talks set up by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush during their summit in Camp David, Md., in late June.

The dialogue is intended to set the overall direction of the two countries’ partnership through informal meetings at least once a year to address bilateral, regional and international issues.

The coming meeting will deal with, among other issues, the pressing concerns of how to revitalize the Japanese economy and differences over the proposed new trade round, expected to be launched at the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in November.

Representing Japan in the dialogue will be senior officials of the Foreign Ministry, Finance Ministry, and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as well as the Cabinet Office, the sources said.

The U.S. delegation will include officials of the State Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as well as the White House, they said.

At the Camp David summit, Koizumi and Bush also agreed to set up four governmental forums and a government-private sector commission.

One of the four forums, the Investment Initiative, will also be launched in Tokyo in September, the sources said.

According to Koizumi and Bush, the investment forum is meant to address legislation, policies and other steps to improve the environment for foreign direct investment in both countries.

The other three forums are the Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative, the Financial Dialogue and the Trade Forum.

The Financial Dialogue will also commence next month, on the sidelines of a meeting in China of finance ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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