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International relations

US presses for bilateral trade pact while Japan remains cautious

Tokyo urges Washington to come back to TPP deal; negotiations extended to second day

The two sides sat down for their initial meeting in "free, fair and reciprocal" trade negotiations on Aug. 9. (Pool photo)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators started a new round of talks here on Thursday, with Washington pushing for a bilateral free trade agreement and Tokyo seeking a return to multilateralism.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's economic and fiscal policy minister, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met for more than two hours in their initial session. This marks the first "free, fair and reciprocal" trade negotiations, which have been arranged following comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump on the need to correct the trade imbalance between the two countries at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 7.

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