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Abe, Trump to focus on trade, E. Asia in talks at G-20: Motegi

WASHINGTON — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to focus on bilateral trade and East Asian and international issues when they meet on the margins of a Group of 20 summit in late June in Osaka, a Japanese Cabinet minister said Thursday.


To prepare for the Abe-Trump meeting, Japanese economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he plans to hold another round of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in the western Japan city ahead of the June 28-29 summit.


“I expect both leaders to have a frank exchange of views on not only trade issues but also East Asian and international issues,” Motegi told reporters after meeting with Lighthizer in Washington.


The ministers, in Thursday’s talks, discussed possible tariff cuts on agriculture and industrial products as part of a bilateral trade agreement, according to Motegi.


“Prime Minister Abe and President Trump have briefings on how much progress the two sides have made in negotiations (for a bilateral trade agreement), and I would expect the leaders to basically confirm such progress,” he said.


Motegi said Tokyo and Washington have agreed to reach a deal soon after a Japanese House of Councillors election in the summer.


In a meeting with Abe in late May in Tokyo, Trump indicated he would not press Japan for a bilateral trade deal until after the upper house election, apparently taking into consideration the Japanese leader’s desire to avoid tariff-cutting pressure on farmers.

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