Japan

Aso, Pence may hold talks on deeper economic ties next month

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Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence may meet in September to discuss deeper economic cooperation following bilateral trade talks to be held the same month, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

Tokyo and Washington are seeking to arrange the meeting to discuss Japan's ramping up of purchases of U.S. defense equipment and liquefied natural gas amid the world's biggest economy's efforts to reduce its trade deficit, according to the sources.

The third round of a high-level economic dialogue will also follow up talks on trade issues to be held next month between Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's minister for economic and fiscal policy, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The meetng would coincide with a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

At the previous talks, Aso and Pence remained at odds over U.S. calls for a bilateral trade agreement. Japan has continued to state its preference for Washington to return to the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Trade issues have since been delegated to the dialogue between Motegi and Lighthizer. At a meeting earlier this month, the two sides were apart over auto and agricultural trade, according to Motegi.

© KYODO

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