U.S.-Japan trade talks delayed by push for China deal

Agricultural products, including dairy, are expected to be one of the main topics in a Japan-U.S. bilateral trade agreement.

TOKYO — Japan and the U.S. are struggling to lay out a timeline for negotiations toward a bilateral trade agreement as Washington focuses its energies on securing a deal with Beijing. The first meeting will likely not come until at least early May — only weeks before Trump’s Japan trip.

Tokyo wanted Lighthizer and Motegi to meet this April so that they could make progress before Trump’s visit to Japan in late May. But Lighthizer’s office replied that it was not possible to arrange the meeting at this time.

This is not the first delay. The lead negotiators were originally supposed to meet as early as January, but the U.S. decided to focus first on trade talks with China. Lighthizer later hinted that he could meet with Motegi in March, though that also failed to materialize.

Trump said on Mar 13 that he is in “no rush” to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a deal.

Both Motegi and Lighthizer have far-ranging duties, and it usually takes about a month for officials in their position to arrange a meeting. Since they have yet to begin preparations, their first meeting will likely not come until at least early May — only weeks before Trump’s Japan trip.

Source:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-Japan-trade-talks-held-up-by-push-for-China-deal

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