Abe-Trump trade talks constructive

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U.S. President Donald Trump greets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he had constructive talks on trade with US President Donald Trump in New York on Sunday ahead of the second round of trade dialogues between the two countries this week.

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He told reporters in New York that they spoke about trade and investment and reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

“I will continue discussions on trade with him in our summit after economy minister Motegi and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer meeting,” Mr Abe told reporters in a media briefing broadcast on Japan’s NHK.

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Mr Abe and Mr Trump will hold a summit meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Friday.

To lay the groundwork for the summit, top trade negotiators of the two countries – Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and US Trade Representative Lighthizer – held their second round of trade talks yesterday.

Mr Trump had tweeted: “Going to New York. Will be with Prime Minister Abe of Japan tonight, talking Military and Trade. We have done much to help Japan, would like to see more of a reciprocal relationship. It will all work out!”

Mr Abe said the US and Japan would remain in close touch on North Korea and that he had relayed to Mr Trump a message from families of Japanese abducted decades ago by North Korea.

Japan is also mulling a bilateral trade agreement with the United States that would lower tariffs on US agriculture imports in exchange for avoiding higher tariffs on Japanese autos, the Nikkei newspaper said on Saturday.

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Japan’s government is considering lowering agricultural tariffs to levels the United States would have gotten had it remained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership multi-lateral trade pact, the Nikkei said, citing government sources.

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