The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will negotiate “new and better trade deals” with “countries in key markets” in a way that is freer and fairer for American workers and businesses, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in an annual report released Wednesday.
The report submitted to Congress stopped short of saying with which key economies the United States will bilaterally negotiate such deals for increased market access, but Japan is almost certainly among them.
Referring to the U.S. withdrawal in late January from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, the report said it “paved the way for potential bilateral talks with the remaining TPP countries” including Japan.
The report is likely to fuel speculation that the United States may propose negotiations with Japan for a bilateral FTA in a high-level economic dialogue the two governments are planning to start in April.
The USTR said the Trump administration is focusing on “bilateral negotiations rather than multilateral negotiations,” in stark contrast to the previous administration of President Barack Obama, who championed the TPP, a trade deal that does not involve China.
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