A newly established Japan-U.S. trade dialogue is not intended to constitute preliminary negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday.
In April, Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed at their summit in Florida to launch the trade talks under the existing framework of bilateral economic dialogue.
The trade talks “are not regarded as FTA negotiations or preliminary consultations” for such a deal, Abe told a plenary meeting of the Lower House.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty said in a recent interview that the new trade dialogue will put a high priority on the agricultural sector.
“I have no intention of making an agreement that goes against national interests with any country,” Abe said, although he stopped short of directly commenting on Hagerty’s remark.
Asked whether the United States will use the new dialogue to make requests to Japan, Abe said that Washington is interested in bilateral trade negotiations.
He again stated that the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, signed in March by Japan and 10 other countries, excluding the United States, “is best for Japan and the United States.”