Daily Management Review

Gaps In Trade Talks With The US Still Remains, Says Japan


While saying that the trade negotiation that he had on a bilateral trade agreement with his United States counterpart were “very tough”, the Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the both the US and Japan need to strive harder to fill a number of gaps that still exists for the completion of the trade agreement between the two countries.
The comments were made by Motegi during his visit to Washington, D.C. where he is holding talks on a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. According to analysts, these talks have been arranged to between the senior political leaders of the countries to try and narrow the gaps in the trade agreement on certain specific trade areas such as agriculture and automobiles, which have to be filled up and agreed to before the two parties could come to a final agreement on the a trade deal.  
“Issues that need to be sorted out in ministerial-level talks have been narrowed down quite a bit,” Motegi told reporters after his meeting with Lighthizer. “We agreed to speed up discussions and work on the remaining issues for an early achievement of results,” he said.
According to reports, these talks also are being held to create the grounds for a possible meeting between the two heads of state – the US president Donald Trump and the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, when they get together at the G7 summit in France in a few days time.
This trade deal also assumes importance for the US and for Trump because the US has been able to make very little headway in its trade negotiations with China and the European Union and a trade deal with Japan would potentially open up the Japanese agriculture market for American farmers as well as reducing the export of Japanese auto and auto components into the US. It should also be mentioned that the farmers of the US also form a core voter segment for Trump when he gets on the campaign for the next US presidential election to be held in November 2020.
On the other hand, Japan is hoping that a trade deal with the US would encourage the Trump administration to bring down the tariffs on imports of car parts and industrial goods which is a sensitive issue for the US.
When asked whether progress had been made toward an agreement at Wednesday’s meeting, Motegi said: “Discussions are undoubtedly deepening. But there are still gaps that need to be filled.”
Not much time was spent in the meeting between him and Lighthizer on trying to finalize a timetable about when the two parties could come to an agreement on the trade deal, Motegi said. Motegi said that the two leaders are scheduled ot meet again during the week end following working-level talks between the two sides.