U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer talked trade during an appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee last week. He told committee members that he’s hopeful the U.S. and Japan are close to a deal on agricultural tariff cuts. He says the key to reaching a bilateral trade agreement with Japan is resolving those differences over Ag tariffs. According to various media reports, Lighthizer says, “I’m hopeful that we’ll come to an agreement in the next several weeks. It’s a high priority.” He also says, “The principal thing we’re trying to do is to get agriculture access equal to what the Japanese have given to the TPP countries.”
The trade industry website meatingplace.com points out that one of President Trump’s first acts in the Oval Office was to withdraw the U.S. from negotiations over the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Hillary Clinton had also been critical of the pact during the most recent presidential campaign. The U.S. and Japan are scheduled to have more trade discussions this week during the Group of 20 summit meeting in Osaka, Japan. The negotiations have been ongoing since April.