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U.S., Japan likely to hold trade talks on April 15-16

  • April 3, 2019
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All national dailies wrote that the governments of the United States and Japan are making final arrangements to hold the first session of a new round of trade negotiations in Washington on April 15 and 16, speculating that Economic Revitalization Minister Motegi will visit Washington for talks with USTR Lighthizer. The papers speculated that the two governments are making arrangements to launch the new trade talks ahead of Prime Minister Abe’s planned trip to the United States to meet with President Trump. The papers wrote that Motegi told the press on Tuesday that the GOJ is making arrangements to hold the first meeting of the talks by the end of this month.


Asahi wrote that the focus of attention will be the extent to which the two nations will expand the scope of their negotiations beyond reducing tariffs on goods including agricultural products and automobiles. The paper also conjectured that although the GOJ is hoping to only discuss tariffs at the talks, it will likely face tough negotiations if the U.S. side calls for reducing tariffs on farm products below TPP levels or expanding the scope of the negotiations because the two governments previously agreed to discuss services as well as goods.


Yomiuri conjectured the trade talks may be intense because the United States is apparently interested in addressing currency issues and expanding exports of beef and other agricultural products, while Japan is hoping to settle the talks at an early date by limiting their scope. The paper speculated that the United States may bring up pharmaceuticals and quantitative restrictions on auto trade and call on Japan to reduce tariffs on farm products below the levels under the TPP and other trade agreements.


Nikkei conjectured that Tokyo is hoping to reach an agreement with Washington by lowering tariffs on American farm products to TPP levels, but it wants to limit the scope of negotiations on services as much as possible.


Mainichi wrote that the gap between Washington and Tokyo may become more pronounced in the upcoming talks because Japan is hoping to focus only on tariffs on goods, while the United States has expressed its interest in discussing a wide range of issues.

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