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United States, Japan Conclude Two-Day U.S.-Japan Trade Forum

January 14, 2011

Washington, D.C. – Today representatives of the United States and Japan concluded a two-day meeting of the U.S.-Japan Trade Forum. The meeting, which covered a range of bilateral trade issues as well as general trade policy issues, 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.

U.S. officials raised 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 the transportation of lithium batteries as well as implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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 the level of ambition in some negotiating issue areas, such as market access and services, that the United States typically achieves in its FTAs. These issue-area discussions were purely informational and illustrative in nature. The U.S. Government also explained to Japan that its broad goals for the TPP exceed those which we have pursued in previous agreements.

No specific plans for follow-up meetings on the TPP were agreed. However, officials of both Governments agreed to continue to consult as appropriate and necessary.