Japan, U.S. to include digital trade in trade talks

17, Apr. 2019

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WASHINGTON, Kyodo - Japan and the United States have agreed to include digital trade in just-started negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement, Japanese economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after the first round of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, Motegi said the two governments started negotiations on trade in goods such as agricultural products and automobiles, and agreed to start talks on digital trade such as e-commerce at an appropriate time.

Motegi quoted Lighthizer as saying during the two-day meeting that President Donald Trump's administration wants to cut the U.S. trade deficit with Japan, and that the administration has a strong interest in increasing access to the Japanese farm market.

A revised Trans-Pacific Partnership -- an 11-member free trade agreement including Japan and farming nations such as Australia and Canada -- as well as an FTA between Japan and the European Union have put American farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage.

Besides digital trade, Lighthizer did not refer to specific areas in services that the United States wants to be included in the trade talks, according to Motegi.

Motegi said he is considering having another meeting with Lighthizer on the sidelines of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump, possibly on April 26 in the U.S. capital. (Kyodo)