U.S. to start trade talks with Japan in mid-January: USTR

18, Oct. 2018

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 Kyodo - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration plans to start negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan in mid-January, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress on Tuesday.

"We intend to initiate negotiations with Japan as soon as practicable, but no earlier than 90 days from the date of this notice," Lighthizer said in a letter to Congressional leaders.

Lighthizer suggested the administration will negotiate with Japan to "address both tariff and nontariff barriers" in sectors such as automobiles and agriculture, and to "achieve fairer, more balanced trade.

"U.S. exporters in key sectors such as automobiles, agriculture and services have been challenged by multiple tariff and nontariff barriers for decades, leading to chronic U.S. trade imbalances with Japan," he wrote.

In a meeting last month in New York, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to start negotiations for a trade agreement on goods, or TAG, between the two countries.

The move is a concession by Tokyo, which dropped its earlier insistence on a multilateral approach to trade issues.(Kyodo)