US and Japan commit to trade talks on agriculture and digital trade

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that the U.S. and Japan affirmed a common goal to hold further “substantive” trade talks.

Lighthizer issued the statement, which did not set a date for the talks, after two days of trade discussions in Washington with Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

“The United States and Japan discussed trade issues involving goods, including agriculture, as well as the need to establish high standards in the area of digital trade. In addition, the United States raised its very large trade deficit with Japan — $67.6 billion in goods in 2018,” the trade representative’s office said in a statement.

Motegi said that a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump could happen on April 26, according to the Japan Times. He expressed optimism that “the two sides could produce results at an early date.”

Trump and Abe issued a joint statement in September vowing to enter into negotiate a United States–Japan trade agreement. Talks have been slow on the matter, with U.S. officials consumed with wrapping up trade talks with China and ensuring the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement gets approved by Congress. Japan is concerned about the possibility that the U.S. will place tariffs on auto and auto parts imports, a move that Trump has said is dependent on how upcoming trade talks with the European Union will play out.

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