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Abe to propose new framework for economic talks with U.S.

Saturday morning’s Nikkei gave top play to a report that Prime Minister Abe apparently plans to propose to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago launching a new framework for discussing economic issues separately from the existing economic dialogue in a bid to encourage the Trump administration to return to the TPP. Based on the Japanese idea, the new framework would be led by USTR Lighthizer and Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motegi, who is likely to accompany the premier to Mar-a-Lago. The business daily speculated that even under a new dialogue framework, the U.S. side may demand either the renegotiation of the TPP or the launch of bilateral FTA talks, projecting that in the upcoming summit with the premier, President Trump is likely to ask Abe to take measures to increase U.S. auto and agriculture imports ahead of the November midterm elections. The daily quoted Abe as telling his associates: “While I understand President Trump better than I did a year ago, I feel more pressure ahead of the upcoming summit than the one held a year ago…. I need to make the President understand the importance of North Korea and free trade.”     

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