Washington, Aug. 14 (Jiji Press) — Working-level officials from Japan and the United States wrapped up their two-day trade talks in Washington on Wednesday, agreeing to meet again on the sidelines of a ministerial session expected to take place next week.
The two sides accelerated negotiations on proposed tariff reductions on agricultural and industrial products in an effort to meet their goal of reaching a broad agreement by late September.
“The points of contention have become very clear and discussions have been progressing,” Kazuhisa Shibuya, a senior policy coordinator at Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat, told a press conference after the latest talks.
Japan and the United States are considering holding ministerial trade talks in Washington on Aug. 21-22, Japanese economic and fiscal policy minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference in Tokyo.
The coming working-level and ministerial talks are expected to be followed by a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of Seven Summit in France on Aug. 24-26.
Tariff negotiations have so far focused on farm products as Washington pushes for greater U.S. access to the Japanese agricultural market, while talks on Tokyo’s demand that Washington reduce tariffs on industrial products lag behind.
The United States is unlikely to make substantial concessions in the industrial sector anytime soon, sources familiar with the situation said. Shibuya indicated that gaps remain between the sides.
Tokyo and Washington have begun work on a text of the proposed trade agreement. Shibuya said the two sides also started reviewing rules of origin, criteria for making products tariff-free.