The United States and Japan made important progress in talks on a Pacific free trade initiative during last week’s summit in Tokyo, U.S. trade chief Michael Froman said Thursday.
The U.S. trade representative told a congressional session that the results of the latest U.S.-Japan talks will give “significant momentum” to the overall negotiations on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.
“The United States and Japan crossed an important threshold in our bilateral market access discussions” during President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Tokyo through April 25, Froman said in a hearing of the Senate’s Finance Committee.
“We didn’t reach an agreement but we reached a milestone in terms of beginning to sort out the parameters of how we would deal with market access in some of their more sensitive areas,” Froman said.
Although work remains to close the gaps, this milestone achievement will provide “significant momentum” to the overall TPP negotiations, he said.
In Tokyo on Friday, the top government spokesman said Japan shares Froman’s view.
“It is true we are making progress in negotiations but we have yet to reach a broad agreement,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.