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Japan Hopes to Leave Farms Out of U.S. Economic Talks
USAgNet - 03/09/2017

Japan will push to leave agriculture out of its first economic talks with the Trump administration next month, sources say, hoping to prevent thorny topics such as its heavily protected farm industry from blocking other negotiations. According to Reuters, Tokyo will propose an agenda for its dialogue with the U.S. in coming days, which will include a wide range of issues such as how Japan can provide technical assistance for U.S. railway projects and increase imports of U.S. shale gas to Japan.

Policymakers aim to focus the debate on ways to assist U.S. efforts in boosting infrastructure investment, an area where an agreement may be more easily reached than other more contentious issues like trade, the sources say.

"We'll go with areas where a deal my be easier, such as infrastructure projects," a government official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media. "Other issues may take more time."

Many Japanese policymakers say the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve won't directly participate in the dialogue, to avoid any impression that governments are seeking to guide independent central bank monetary policy.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last month to launch a bilateral economic dialogue to discuss issues such as macroeconomic policies, trade and infrastructure investment.

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