NEW YORK — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso affirmed Tuesday that the upcoming bilateral trade pact will serve as a model for “fair and reciprocal economic relations,” according to the White House.
The two met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York prior to the planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during which they are expected to officially agree on the deal.
The White House said in a statement that the two discussed the “positive progress being made towards a finalized bilateral trade agreement” and that “such a full agreement will lead to greater prosperity in both countries and will serve as a model for fair and reciprocal economic relations among nations.”
Aso and Pence also agreed to continue to “stably” develop the bilateral economic ties, while further reinforcing their bilateral security alliance, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
The Trump administration has been seeking a deal to reduce its trade deficit with Japan, demanding greater market access for American beef, pork, wheat and dairy products.
Under the envisaged deal, Japan would cut tariffs on U.S. farm produce such as beef and pork, setting them on par with the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact that entered into force in December after the abrupt U.S. pullout in 2017.
The United States, however, is seen as unlikely to reduce its existing tariffs on imported Japanese vehicles and auto parts.
Japan’s top negotiator Toshimitsu Motegi said Monday after meeting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in New York that their negotiations had “completely finished.”