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Vice President Pence Gets Talks Going on Bilateral Trade Deal With Japan

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is in Japan this week to talk relations, and the conversation about a bilateral trade deal is already underway.

Expressing his gratitude for Japanese businesses and their contribution to creating U.S. jobs, Pence reassured business leaders at a meeting in Tokyo that trade between the two countries—which accounts for nearly one-third of the world’s GDP—would continue on successfully.

“President Trump has made it clear that our administration will strengthen our international trade relationships using a bilateral approach, and yesterday, at the president’s direction, I met with Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Aso to kick off the U.S.-Japan economic dialogue. And we’ve gone straight to work,” Pence said, according to a White House statement. “This dialogue presents the United States and Japan with the opportunity to deepen our bilateral economic ties, and to foster jobs, prosperity and growth on both sides of the Pacific.”

In the coming months, the U.S. and Japan will focus on three pillars in their trade talks.

The first, Pence said, will be a common strategy on trade and investment rules and issues.

The United States wants a more balanced trade relationship with Japan, according to Pence, and it should be one that benefits both nations equally.

“This requires breaking down barriers and leveling the playing field so that American companies and exporters enjoy high levels of market access,” Pence said.

Agreeing on economic and structural policies will be the second area of focus, and leaders are expected to hone in on fiscal and monetary issues.

“The president believes that both the United States and Japan can enact pro-growth and fiscally sustainable monetary and budgetary policies, which are both key to our long-term economic success,” according to Pence.

The final focus in the bilateral trade talks will be on sectoral cooperation, or finding new ways to expand economic ties with Japan in alternate sectors and industries.

“As we discussed earlier today with business leaders, one of the areas we agreed upon is to examine ways that we can promote and advance women empowerment in business in the United States and in Japan,” Pence said.

Before wrapping his remarks at the meeting, Pence promised that any U.S. tax reform would “benefit every business represented here today.”

“President Trump and our entire administration are working around the clock to pass an agenda of lower taxes, less regulation, better infrastructure, and a renewed focus on American energy,” Pence said. “President Trump’s tax plan is to slash the corporate rate and reform the tax code and make it simpler, flatter and fairer.”

The vice president’s visit to Japan to talk trade comes on the heels of Japan saying it would carry on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership with or without the U.S. involved, but there has been no mention of whether that was addressed.

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