TOKYO Japan's trade minister and his U.S. counterpart agreed to meet as soon as possible to prepare for planned bilateral economic talks, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said early on Tuesday.
METI Minister Hiroshige Seko and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross agreed by phone that Seko would visit the United States for a candid exchange of views to prepare for the talks, which are to be led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Foreign Minister Taro Aso, the ministry said.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed last month to launch a bilateral economic dialogue to discuss such issues as macroeconomic policies, trade and infrastructure investment.
Japan, concerned about Trump's strident comments about trade and currencies, hopes to use the talks to seek ways to avoid trade friction and ensure that Washington remains engaged in the Asia-Pacific region.
Akira Amari, the former economy minister who headed Japan's negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks, told Reuters on Monday that Japan and the United States should avoid trying to interfere with each other's fiscal and monetary policies when they start the economic talks next month.
(Reporting by Ami Miyazaki; Editing by William Mallard and Gareth Jones)