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Trade minister Motegi comments on President Trump’s remark on trade talks

NHK reported at noon that at a news conference this morning, Economic Revitalization Minister Motegi commented on President Trump’s remark yesterday that regarding the bilateral trade talks, the two countries would be able to announce “some things” in August. He said this was simply an expression of the President’s hope to move the talks forward as quickly as possible. In connection with the President’s statement at his joint news conference with Prime Minister Abe that the U.S. is “not involved in TPP,” which was reportedly interpreted by some as meaning the U.S. will not be bound by the terms of the TPP agreement, Motegi said that this was simply a statement of the fact that the U.S. has withdrawn from the free-trade pact. He stressed that as indicated in the joint statement issued after the bilateral summit last September, there is no doubt that the two leaders were in agreement that the terms of the TPP accord would be the limit of the concessions Japan would be able to make, indicating that the U.S. understands that the trade talks will proceed on the basis of this joint statement.


NHK also reported on Foreign Minister Kono’s comments on the President’s TPP remark, which he gave at a session of the Upper House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense this morning. Kono was quoted as saying that the U.S. is indeed not bound by the terms of the TPP since it is not a member, but the trade talks “will be conducted to reach an agreement within the TPP framework, as stated in the Japan-U.S. joint statement issued last September.” He further denied that Japan asked the U.S. not to press for a trade agreement before the Upper House election this summer.


NHK also reported online that commenting on the remark about an August announcement, METI Minister Seko stated at a news conference this morning that he understood this to be an expression of the President’s hope for the talks to move forward quickly and that his original language did not indicate anything has been decided about the substance or timing of an announcement.

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