Business / Economy

Japan, U.S. trade chiefs to meet in Tokyo ahead of Abe-Trump summit

Kyodo

The top trade negotiators of Japan and the United States will meet in Tokyo on Saturday to hold talks on a bilateral deal, the Japanese government said Friday.

The meeting between Toshimitsu Motegi, minister for economic and fiscal policy, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, will take place ahead of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump on Monday.

Trump had said it is possible for the two countries to strike some sort of a deal by the time he visits Japan as a state guest, but Japanese officials did not think so, believing that it will take much longer to work out the details.

Trump’s administration is seeking greater access to the Japanese market for agricultural products such as beef and pork, as American farmers have become less competitive since the entry into effect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement including Australia and New Zealand.

Japan has, meanwhile, pushed for the removal of tariffs on industrial products including automobiles, one of its biggest exports, as had been agreed before the United States withdrew from the TPP.

In working-level talks in Washington earlier this week, officials from both countries confirmed that there remains a wide gap between their positions, something that was further highlighted when Trump called some auto imports a national security threat.