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Trump Promises Ag Focus in Japan Trade Talks


President Donald Trump promises agriculture will be a focal point in trade talks with Japan. Farmers are hoping a deal with Japan will make up for lost market access after the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japan and TPP-member countries have signed a new agreement now in place, giving other nations reduced tariffs and improved access to Japan, resulting in a decline of U.S. products flowing to Japan. Before meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, Trump stated the two would be “discussing very strongly agriculture,” according to Politico.

Japan will be seeking market access in return, which could include growing markets for its specialty agricultural products. The U.S. and Japan earlier this month agreed to accelerated trade talks in hopes of reaching a speedy deal by focusing on agriculture automobile trade. The benefits seen in a new trade deal with Japan are likely to be similar to those agriculture welcomed during the TPP negotiating process.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hopes the next couple rounds of trade talks with China will bring a deal or a decision to “move on.” He told Fox Business there is a “strong desire” to wrap up the talks, or move on. The negotiations have entered the final stages, according to Mnuchin. The U.S. and China meet again this week in Beijing. Officials from China are scheduled to then revisit Washington to continue the negotiations next week.

The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit the White House in June, in what would be an expected meeting to sign an agreement. Mnuchin believes both sides want to reach a deal. Agriculture groups are seeking an agreement that removes tariffs on U.S. products implemented as part of the tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China. However, Trump has previously stated that U.S. tariffs, those China retaliated against U.S. ag products over, may remain following an agreement.

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