Japan eye gap over agriculture, autos at trade talks
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[February 17, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The United
States and Japan will aim to find common ground on sticking points
such as agriculture and autos at the next round of negotiations on a
Pacific Rim trade pact, the U.S. Trade Representative said on
Saturday after top-level talks.
After meeting Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari in Washington,
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the two countries
agreed to work towards a comprehensive agreement at Trans-Pacific
Partnership talks scheduled for next week in Singapore.
"Ambassador Froman and Minister Amari agreed on the importance of
narrowing differences between the United States and Japan on
agriculture and other market access and rules issues," Froman's
office said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Amari was not immediately available for comment.
Before the meeting, Japanese media had quoted Amari as saying a
compromise between the United States and Japan, the biggest
economies in the TPP, over controversial items was key to reaching a
broad agreement at the Singapore meeting.
The United States had hoped to wrap up the TPP, which aims to cut
tariffs in countries making up 40 percent of the world economy and
set common standards on a range of other issues, by the end of last
But obstacles remain over issues including Japanese protection of
sensitive agricultural products, such as rice, and U.S. automakers'
fears of increased competition from Japan.
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"Securing strong outcomes with Japan, including for American autos
and agriculture, remains a high priority," Froman said.
The other countries negotiating the TPP are Australia, Brunei,
Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and
Vietnam. Ministerial meetings are scheduled to start in Singapore on
(Reporting by Krista Hughes; editing by
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