No agreement yet on individual trade issues with U.S.: Japan’s Motegi

Japan's Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi speaks during the signing agreement ceremony for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, in Santiago
Japan’s Minister of Economic Revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi speaks during the signing agreement ceremony for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, in Santiago, Chile March 8, 2018. Picture Taken March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

April 16, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday that no agreement had been reached on individual trade issues with the United States after two days of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Motegi told journalists in Washington he hoped to reach a “good result” on the talks “at an early stage.”

He said he may accompany Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visits the United States next week for talks with President Donald Trump on North Korea and trade.

The two-day trade talks came after Trump and Abe agreed last September to start trade talks in an arrangement that protects Japanese automakers from further tariffs while talks are underway.

Abe has stressed that the new framework would be a Trade Agreement on Goods, or TAG, not a more wide-ranging free trade agreement that included investments and services that Japan had resisted.

Motegi said on Monday he confirmed with Lighthizer that new trade talks would proceed based on the nations’ joint statement issued last September. It said talks “will respect positions of the other government,” drawing lines on autos and Japan’s agriculture sector.

(Reporting by David Lawder in Washington; Writing by Malcolm Foster in Tokyo; Editing by Richard Chang)

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