Business / Economy

Top Japan and U.S. trade officials speak over phone in run-up to Trump visit at end of May


Economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer held informal telephone talks for the second straight day Saturday, sources said.

They agreed to hold working-level talks to speed up bilateral trade negotiations ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump late this month, the sources added.

Trump is set to visit Japan as a state guest May 25-28.

Motegi and Lighthizer confirmed that their countries’ negotiators will gather to discuss how the negotiations should progress and what topics should be handled.

The negotiators are trying to smooth the way for discussions on tariff cuts and their elimination for agricultural products and vehicles, as well as on digital trade issues.

Motegi and Lighthizer met in mid-April to mark the start of ministerial talks on the proposed bilateral trade agreement.