U.S. official says some progress on trade talks with Japan

TOKYO Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:11pm EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States and Japan have made progress in round-the-clock trade talks ahead of a bilateral summit but continue to negotiate on car and agriculture market access, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

"We're continuing to work," the official said, before President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a meeting and news conference on the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years.

"Autos and agriculture continue to be the focus, and our goal remains to achieve meaningful market access for American businesses, farmers and ranchers," the official said. "We've made some progress and worked around the clock."

Trade Representative Michael Froman and Economy Minister Akira Amari left the talks after 3 a.m. (1800 GMT Wednesday) without speaking to reporters. The bilateral talks are key to a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that Obama and Abe have both set as key goals for their administrations.

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Dominic Lau)

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