April 20, 2015 / 6:59 PM / in 2 years

U.S. and Japan narrow gaps substantially in trade talks: USTR Froman

Japan's Economics Minister Akira Amari (R) shakes hands with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman ahead of their meeting in Tokyo April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Ataru Haruna

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States and Japan have made significant progress in trade talks over recent days, adding momentum to multilateral efforts toward a free-trade pact, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said early on Tuesday.

The two sides narrowed their gaps substantially in the bilateral discussions, Froman told reporters after two days of talks with Economy Minister Akira Amari, following senior working-level discussions last week.

The bilateral deal between the two nations is vital to the success of a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

Amari has said the two sides want to make enough progress to be welcomed at a summit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama next week in Washington.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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