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U.S. envoy hopes for “rapid progress” in trade talks with Japan

U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty on Thursday expressed hope for “rapid progress” in new negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement.


“My hope is that the negotiators will bring things to closure rather quickly,” Hagerty told reporters in Washington. “I’m going to look forward to seeing really rapid progress.”


Hagerty made the comments a day before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to focus on trade and North Korea at a White House meeting.


On Thursday, Japanese economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer held talks in Washington to lay the groundwork for an Abe-Trump summit.


Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a separate meeting.


During the first round of trade negotiations last week, Motegi and Lighthizer started talks for cutting tariffs on agricultural and industrial products.


They also agreed to start talks on digital trade, an area including e-commerce and music distribution services, at an appropriate time.

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