NHK reported at noon that Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Aso left Narita for Washington this morning to attend the second round of the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue with Vice President Pence slated for Monday in Washington, saying that the focus will be on to what extent the two sides will be able to produce results in such areas as trade before President Trump’s visit next month. The network said there is still a gap between the two nations over trade and investment rules. While the U.S. is interested in a bilateral FTA with Japan, Japan is basically pursuing the TPP. The network added that the U.S. is opposed to Japan’s safeguard mechanism for frozen U.S. beef, adding that Japan is planning to propose introducing a system in which the amount of imports is carefully controlled so that it will not exceed the level that would trigger the safeguard. Aso reportedly talked about the economic dialogue at a press conference on Oct. 6, during which he expressed hope to hold constructive discussions in order to further deepen economic relations while protecting national interests.