Sankei published an exclusive interview with Ambassador Hagerty. On last week’s summit between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump, Ambassador Hagerty reportedly stated that the two leaders’ agreement on launching bilateral trade talks is the “most important message.” However, he rejected the term “TAG” (trade agreement on goods), emphasizing that this is not the term used by the U.S. government. The daily took this comment to mean that when entering new trade talks with Japan, the Trump administration will aim to forge a comprehensive liberalization deal that covers not only goods but also services. The Ambassador reportedly dismissed the possibility of the U.S. rejoining the TPP by citing the political environment at home, adding: “Our only option is a bilateral agreement. I think Prime Minister Abe has finally realized that this is very important for the Japan-U.S. relationship.”
On China, the Ambassador was quoted as saying: “I was extremely encouraged to see the joint announcement by Japan, the U.S. and the EU to work to reform the WTO in areas such as e-commerce, intellectual property theft, technology transfer, state-owned enterprises, and subsidies.” The Ambassador reportedly stressed that China simply needs to change its behavior.