Vice President Pence to discuss trade relations in Tokyo

Vice President Pence to discuss trade relations in Tokyo

In a second round of economic talks between their two countries, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso will meet with US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington DC today. In April, Pence and Aso engaged in similar talks, with the US advocating a potential bilateral free trade agreement. The vice president used the opportunity to push for the opening

Vice President Pence and Japan’s Finance Minsiter Taro Aso

Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

In a second round of economic talks between their two countries, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso will meet with US Vice President Mike Pence in Washington DC today.

In April, Pence and Aso engaged in similar talks, with the US advocating a potential bilateral free trade agreement. The vice president used the opportunity to push for the opening of certain Japanese markets, like agriculture.

Much to America’s chagrin, Tokyo hiked tariffs on frozen beef imports from the US from 38.5% to 50% in July. As Japan is the primary importer of US chilled and frozen beef, expect the vice president to discuss easing that tariff during the meeting.

It is unclear if Japan would prioritise the creation of a US-Japan free trade agreement right now. Tokyo has its hands full as it tries to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership sans the US. Currently, the Abe government might rather try to counter Chinese economic expansionism through the TPP-11, which does not include Beijing, than focus its efforts on a forging a new, bilateral agreement with Washington.

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