Japan and the United States plan to hold ministerial-level trade talks as early as this week, with tariffs on agricultural and industrial products expected to top the agenda, according to government sources.
The talks will likely be held before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s meeting with President Donald Trump in Tokyo. The two leaders are scheduled to meet next Monday.
Before economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sit at the negotiating table, officials of the two countries were to hold working-level talks Tuesday afternoon in Washington, the sources said Monday.
As Trump pushes what he calls fair and reciprocal trade, Japan and the United States launched negotiations in April. Since then, Motegi and Lighthizer have met twice.
Differences remain in the negotiations, and Abe and Trump, who is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Saturday as a state guest for a four-day visit, will not likely be able to strike a trade deal.
Under such circumstances, the two leaders are unlikely to issue a joint statement following their discussions, according to the sources.
To coordinate various polices ahead of Trump’s visit, the first since November 2017, Foreign Minister Taro Kono spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by phone on Monday night, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Their conversation lasted about 20 minutes, the ministry said, without providing further details.