Japan, U.S. to hold ministerial trade talks later this month

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan and the United States plan to hold ministerial-level trade talks later this month, with tariffs on agricultural and industrial products expected to top the agenda, government sources said Monday.

The talks will likely be held before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Tokyo set for May 27.

Before economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer sit at the negotiating table, the two countries will hold working-level talks on Tuesday afternoon in Washington, according to the sources.

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.

Still, 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 to Japan, the first since November 2017, Foreign Minister Taro Kono spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by phone on Monday night, according to Japan’s Foreign Ministry.

The phone conversation lasted about 20 minutes, the ministry said, without providing further details. (Kyodo)

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