• Kyodo

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Japan and the United States plan to hold the first round of their high-level economic dialogue in Tokyo on April 18 to discuss infrastructure investment, trade rules and macroeconomic policy, sources have said.

The framework, to be led by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as finance minister, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, is set to be the main stage for bilateral economic discussions after the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

During the visit, Pence is also set to attend a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the same day, join a meeting of business leaders from the two countries in the capital the following day and participate in a welcome event at the State Guesthouse in Kyoto, the sources said Thursday.

The economic dialogue, agreed to between Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump last month during their first official summit, will be closely watched as Japan could face pressure to further open its agricultural and auto sectors in line with Trump’s “America First” agenda.

The U.S. pullout from the TPP reversed the promotion of the regional trade pact as a central part of U.S. Asia policy under the Obama administration.

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