Japan’s economy minister said Friday that Tokyo had not reached a basic accord with Washington over a Pacific-wide trade deal despite intense talks after a bilateral summit.
There had been hopes that Tokyo and Washington might break an impasse in the stalled talks during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Tokyo.
Speaking hours before Obama’s departure, however, Japanese economy minister Akira Amari said what had been achieved was “not a basic accord although there was progress”.
“In talks between the two leaders and ministers, we have confirmed the path to solve important pending issues between Japan and the United States,” Amari told reporters.
Japan and the United States would “cooperate to help accelerate talks with other countries participating” in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to bring it to an early conclusion, he said.
Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to reach an agreement on the TPP in summit talks on Thursday but told their delegates to continue negotiations.
Obama urged Japan to take “bold steps” to seal the TPP, a vast agreement that would cover about 40 percent of the global economy and a key plank in the president’s bid for a renewed US focus on Asia.
The ambitious 12-nation deal has stalled as Tokyo and Washington lock horns over key details, including Japanese tariffs on agricultural imports and US access to its ally’s major auto market.
Obama arrived in Tokyo late Wednesday on the first leg of his Asian tour which will also bring him to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. He will leave for Seoul later Friday.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]