| TOKYO, March 9
TOKYO, March 9 Japan plans to leave agriculture
out of its first economic dialogue with the U.S. next month,
sources say, hoping to prevent thorny topics like liberalisation
of its heavily protected farm industry from blocking other
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,
according to government sources with knowledge of the matter.
Policymakers aim to focus the debate on ways to assist U.S.
efforts in boosting infrastructure investment, an area where an
agreement may be easier reached than other 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 authorised 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.
"What's important is to create a win-win situation for both
sides. This is not something where one side wins and the other
loses," Shunsuke Takei, parliament vice minister at Japan's
foreign ministry, told Reuters in an interview, but did not
comment on specific areas of negotiations.
Taro Aso, Japan's finance minister and deputy prime
minister, and Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to
visit Japan next month, will lead the bilateral talks.
Trump has complained about the U.S. trade deficit with Japan
and accused Tokyo of using its "money supply" to weaken the yen
and give exporters an unfair advantage.
While he avoided harsh rhetoric during a summit with Abe
last month, there is uncertainty on what demands Washington may
make at the bilateral economic dialogue.
Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday
called out Japan for its non-tariff trade barriers and said
negotiations to use U.S. leverage as the world's largest market
were needed to boost U.S. exports.
(Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto, Kaori Kaneko,
Minami Funakoshi and Linda Sieg; Editing by Sam Holmes)