Abe to propose new bilateral trade dialogue
TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The Japanese government has decided to propose a new framework for discussing trade issues between Japan and the United States, at a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Japan aims to make the framework a foothold for the United States to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, a possibility that Trump has ordered to be explored, while continuing the discussions between the two countries.
Abe intends to have Toshimitsu Motegi, minister in charge of economic revitalization and responsible for the TPP, take charge of the framework, while envisaging that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will represent the U.S. side.
Motegi is expected to accompany Abe to the United States and attend the summit meeting.
The Japanese government opposes a free trade agreement with the United States. Although Trump ordered that conditions for the United States to rejoin the TPP be investigated, he may demand the opening of negotiations on a Japan-U.S. FTA in addition to the reduction of the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.
The Japanese government intends to ascertain U.S. concerns on trade through the new framework for dialogue.
Abe’s decision on such a proposal to Trump was partly spurred by the fact that the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue between Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — Abe and Trump agreed on its establishment last February — has met only twice so far. It has failed to advance discussions and complaints have been heard from the U.S. side.
Abe and Trump are expected to discuss how to position the new framework for dialogue in relation to the Economic Dialogue.