U.S., Japan to Discuss Next Trade Talks in Early 2020: USTR Office

Politics

Washington, Dec. 4 (Jiji Press)--The United States and Japan will "begin consultations early next year" in order to enter into negotiations on "a broader trade agreement" than the one signed in October, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement on Wednesday.

USTR Robert Lighthizer said in the statement that U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the "implementing proclamation" for the recently signed trade agreement next week.

The statement was issued after Japan earlier in the day completed its domestic procedures needed for the pact's effectuation, which the two countries hope will come on Jan. 1, 2020. The Diet, Japan's parliament, endorsed the bilateral pact on Wednesday.

"I commend Japan's quick action to approve" the pact, Lighthizer said. Washington's eagerness for the potential new round of bilateral trade talks comes as Trump looks to score diplomatic wins ahead of his reelection campaign next year.

The recently signed trade deal focuses on tariff cuts and elimination for agricultural and industrial products which are less sensitive, while sidestepping more contentious areas such as automotive tariffs. U.S. industry groups and farmers have said the deal is insufficient, and called for a more comprehensive trade accord covering more goods and services.

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