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WASHINGTON (Kyodo) Japanese and U.S. officials said they will hold their first talks this week on Tokyo’s possible participation in negotiations for a trans-Pacific free-trade agreement.

They will discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement as part of the Japan-U.S. Trade Forum to be held Thursday and Friday.

The United States is a key player among the nine countries currently involved in the negotiations to expand TPP membership.

At the forum, officials are also expected to discuss how to strengthen bilateral cooperation in securing supplies of rare-earth minerals. China, which dominates global output, is reducing export quotas.

The plan is to require member countries in principle to reduce all tariffs to zero within 10 years.

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