Japan-US trade talks under new framework won’t start until June – Tokyo

Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday that talks on trade under a new framework led by him and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer won’t begin until mid-June at the earliest. Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump agreed at a summit to set up a new framework focusing on bilateral trade. The move could put Japan under direct US pressure to enter talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), Reuters said. Japan is wary of entering such talks and wants to convince Washington to rejoin the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact. “We’ve told the US side that the start of discussions [under the new framework] will be around mid-June or later,” Motegi said. “We’re not thinking of signing a bilateral FTA,” he added.