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Vice President Pence dismisses Japan’s attempt to deflect U.S. trade pressure

TV-Asahi’s Hodo Station took up Vice President Pence’s talks with Deputy Prime Minister Aso in Tuesday’s bilateral economic dialogue that was proposed by the Japanese side to deflect U.S. pressure on the trade front with the goal of “sidelining” President Trump, who is highly critical of Japan due to the trade imbalance. The GOJ was hoping that the Japanese side would be able to seize the initiative in bilateral economic discussions if the U.S. side were led by the Vice President, who has an affinity for Japan because his home state of Indiana hosts a large number of Japanese companies. The program also said the Abe administration is aiming to convince Washington to rejoin the TPP by moving forward with effectuating the free-trade pact without the participation of the U.S. Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ishihara met with Australian Trade Minister Ciobo on the same day and they agreed to explore ways to implement the landmark regional free trade deal when a TPP trade ministerial meeting is held in Hanoi next month. The program underscored, however, that this Japanese attempt was effectively dismissed by the Vice President, who told the press after his meeting with Aso: “President Trump truly does believe that it’s in the interests of the United States of America to negotiate trade agreements on a bilateral basis….The TPP is a thing of the past for the United States of America. The Trump administration has made a decision and taken steps to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that will be our policy going forward.”


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