Japan’s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi started trade talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer yesterday. After hours of meeting, Motegi said “we had a frank exchange of views and deepened mutual understanding.” He declined to reveal what were discussed and added that he would “say what I can after the first round of talks end”.

But Motegi reiterated Japan’s position that multilateral framework is the best way to address trade issues. The country is insisting to avoid a bilateral free-trade agreement. Instead, Japan would like to pull the US back into TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The USTR later said that “ambassador Lighthizer and Minister Motegi had a thorough and constructive exchange of views on all bilateral trade issues.” And, “they understand each other’s conditions for further discussions and plan to move forward with additional talks.”

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