WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Japan and the United States will continue their ministerial-level trade negotiations for one more day, Japanese economic revitalization minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Thursday.
Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer started the latest round of trade talks in Washington on Wednesday, with the focus on whether the two countries can iron out differences in views over tariff cuts on key sectors such as beef and automobiles.
"Our discussions are beginning to take final shape" in areas involving agricultural and industrial products as well as in digital trade such as e-commerce, Motegi told reporters following the second day of the talks.
But he also said negotiations "take time" and that he will meet Lighthizer also on Friday. The talks had been scheduled to take place for at least two days.
The current negotiations are expected to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the fringes of the Group of Seven summit in Paris from Saturday to Monday.
With Trump seeking a bilateral deal to fix what he sees as an imbalanced trade relationship and reduce the hefty U.S. trade deficit with Japan, Tokyo and Washington have been engaging in negotiations with an eye to reaching a deal by September.
Motegi told reporters Wednesday that Japan and the United States are getting closer to the "final stage" of their talks, but have also admitted that there are gaps the two countries have yet to bridge.
The United States has demanded greater market access for American beef, pork, wheat and dairy products, while Japan aims to eliminate U.S. tariffs on vehicles and auto parts.