July 31, 2018 / 3:28 AM / 4 months ago

U.S., Japan to hold first bilateral trade talks Aug 9

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he hosts a joint news conference with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Tuesday that the United States and Japan will hold their first bilateral trade talks in Washington on Aug. 9.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in April to set up a new framework to discuss “free, fair and reciprocal” trade that will be led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Motegi told reporters that he wanted to have “constructive talks” towards an expansion of free trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policies raised concerns about the global trade and economy and his threats to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of autos and auto parts raised criticism from home and abroad.

Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. may be a potential target for Trump’s trade policies.

Motegi, who met UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, on Tuesday also welcomed UK’s trade minister’s expressing the British government’ interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement among 11 nations.

“According to our calculations, the combined gross domestic product(GDP) of the TPP-11 and the UK will be totally the same with the GDP of the EU minus the UK. It’s indeed going to be an engine of Japan’s economic growth,” Motegi told reporters.

Reporting by Leika Kihara, Kaori Kaneko and Kwiyeon Ha; Editing by Chris Gallagher

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