By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 – U.S. and Japanese officials concluded a two-day meeting of the U.S.-Japan Trade Forum Friday. The meeting covered a range of bilateral trade issues, including concerns related to U.S. access to Japan’s beef market, level playing field concerns related to Japan Post, and issues affecting U.S. access to Japan’s automobile market. Japanese officials raised issues including implementation of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act and the transportation of lithium batteries.

The meeting was chaired by Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs and Takeshi Yagi, Director General of the Economic Affairs Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officials from other relevant U.S. and Japanese departments, ministries and agencies also participated.

The two governments also exchanged information on their respective trade policies and related initiatives. The United States provided an update on recent developments related to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Japan explained how it is following up on its “Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships” and also updated the United States on the status of Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement discussions with Australia, the European Union, and Korea.

A discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was also held. The U.S. side provided an update on the TPP process and related issues, and the Japanese side explained its government’s position and recent developments with respect to Japan’s interest in the TPP. The U.S. participants also provided a detailed overview of the U.S. approach under its past free trade agreements (FTAs) to highlight some negotiating issue areas such as market access and services that the United States typically achieves in its FTAs. U.S. officials characterized these issue-area discussions as “purely informational and illustrative in nature.”

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