News / Asia

Ministers: Big Gaps Remain Between US, Japan in Trade Talks

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (C) speaks to media after meetings with Japan's Economics Minister Akira Amari (not in picture) in Tokyo, April 10, 2014.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (C) speaks to media after meetings with Japan's Economics Minister Akira Amari (not in picture) in Tokyo, April 10, 2014.
Reuters
Big gaps remain between the United States and Japan after two days of top-level talks on a bilateral trade deal that is vital for a broader regional pact, negotiators on both sides said on Thursday.
 
Japan and the United States are seeking a two-way trade deal, regarded as a key part of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), before President Barack Obama travels to Japan for an April 24-25 state visit.
 
The TPP, a 12-nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America, is a centerpiece of Obama's push to expand the U.S. presence in Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted it as a main element of his economic growth strategy.
 
"Our teams arrived expecting that the talks will be tough. And our expectations have been met," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after talks with Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari.
 
"We made some progress over the last two days, but there are still considerable differences on our positions in key issues," he continued.
 
Amari said progress had been made in some areas but significant differences persisted and it was not possible to say whether a basic deal could be reached by the summit.
 
"The U.S.-Japan summit is one important juncture, but it's not a pre-set goal. We will continue the talks. It's the content of negotiations that's important," he told reporters.
 
Without substantive progress toward a deal in time for Obama's trip, the summit with Abe could end up more symbolism than substance, experts said.
 
The United States wants Japan to open its rice, beef and pork, dairy and sugar sectors - politically powerful sectors that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed to defend.
 
"We understand the challenges. These negotiations relate to fundamental reforms and the market opening of sectors in Japan that have traditionally been closed," Froman said. "These [TPP] opportunities are aligned with Japan's own economic reform agenda."
 
A Japanese government official told Reuters this week that lowering farm tariffs was possible but scrapping them entirely - the goal of the TPP framework - was not.
 
Japan also wants a timetable on U.S. promises to drop tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger cars and 25 percent on light trucks.
 
It was reported earlier in Japanese media that Japan was considering slashing tariffs on U.S. beef imports to less than 10 percent from the current 38.5 percent.
 
That proposed cut would be much deeper than one negotiated with Australia, which on Monday agreed to a trade deal with Tokyo including a halving of the levy on frozen beef to 19.5 percent.
 
A spokesman for Australia's foreign affairs and trade department said if Japan gave another country a better deal, a review would automatically be triggered with the aim of giving Australia equal market access.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid