Business

Japan and U.S. start planning next round of high-level economic talks

Kyodo

Officials from Japan and the United States have started making plans for high-level economic dialogue in October in Washington, with a target of arranging U.S. President Donald Trump’s first visit to Tokyo this fall, a diplomatic source said.

At the second round of the bilateral dialogue between Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Washington may urge Tokyo to take measures to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, the source said Tuesday.

Japan is planning to have Aso, who also serves as finance minister, visit the U.S. capital in October and hold an informal meeting prior to the formal dialogue, the source added.

The first round of the economic dialogue took place in April in Tokyo, where the two countries agreed to start discussions about a bilateral framework for trade and investment rules.

As Trump has tried to pull the United States out of multilateral free trade agreements, his administration is set to seek deeper negotiations on a bilateral free trade deal with Japan.

During their meeting earlier this month on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump apparently called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to implement steps to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.

During the meeting, Abe told Trump that he is looking forward to the president’s first visit to Japan — possibly in November — since he took office in January, according to the Foreign Ministry.