Pence told Japan's Aso he favors bilateral trade deal: sources


Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Writing by Tetsushi KajimotoEditing by Clarence Fernandez, Reuters

February 9, 2018


TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso this week that he favored a bilateral trade deal - which Tokyo opposes - to fix trade imbalances, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday.


During a 20 minute-meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday, Pence and Aso exchanged views following President Donald Trump’s recent remark that he might be willing to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), if it were renegotiated to benefit the United States, the sources said.


“We’d like to encourage the United States to rejoin TPP, but we want to prevent the issue of trade imbalances flaring up,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak to media.


The two sides did not discuss specific sectoral issues such as exports of automobiles and shipments of beef, on which Washington had pushed for fewer restrictions during working-level talks in late January, they added...