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Broad accord reached in Japan-U.S. trade talks: Motegi

August 24, 2019

Washington--The Japanese and U.S. governments have reached a broad agreement in their trade talks, Toshimitsu Motegi, Japanese minister in charge of the negotiations, suggested Friday.

"We saw major progress," Motegi told a press conference following a three-day ministerial session with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in the U.S. capital.

Motegi said he and Lighthizer are expected to have no more session, indicating they achieved a breakthrough on key pending issues.

The outcome of the ministerial meeting will be reviewed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump when they hold a bilateral meeting as early as Sunday, on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in France from Saturday.

The two governments are expected to announce a schedule to conclude the final agreement possibly next month.

During their negotiations, Motegi and Lighthizer tackled the remaining issues of tariff cuts on Japanese automotive products and U.S. agricultural goods.

"I negotiated from the standpoint of firmly protecting Japan's agriculture," Motegi stressed at the press conference.

The two sides agreed that the degree of Japanese market liberalization for beef, pork and other farm goods in the envisioned Japan-U.S. trade agreement will not exceed that under the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, according to Motegi.

Tokyo and Washington are also believed to have resolved their differences over U.S. tariffs on Japanese industrial products.

If Abe and Trump approve the results of the Motegi-Lighthizer session at their summit in France, the two governments will enter the final working-level stage to conclude a bilateral

The two countries are aiming to announce the final outcome of the trade negotiations at an anticipated Abe-Trump summit in late September. Jiji Press