Japan is asking the United States to show some “flexibility” in negotiations for freer trade in the Asia-Pacific region, the top government spokesman said Tuesday.
Japanese negotiators “are asking for flexibility from the U.S. side in the ministerial talks,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade liberalization talks ending later in the day in Singapore. “Japan has drawn a line in the sand,” he added.
Japan and the United States, the two key negotiating members in the 12-nation TPP talks, have engaged in bilateral sessions in parallel with the full TPP negotiations, but so far failed to completely address their differences over tariffs and other issues.
Suga’s comment comes as the TPP members are expected to hold another meeting of their chief negotiators early next year after falling short of reaching a broad agreement during the four-day meeting in Singapore, as earlier targeted by their leaders.
Japanese farm minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo on Tuesday said Japan should maintain its tariffs on imports of rice and some other key agricultural products to protect domestic farmers.
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