WASHINGTON, April 3 Japan has to live up to
commitments to open its markets as part of talks to create a
Pacific free trade zone, U.S. Trade Representative Michael
Froman said on Thursday.
Froman said despite a series of bilateral talks between the
United States and Japan, the two biggest economies in the
12-nation trade agreement, there were still gaps on trade in
farm goods and motor vehicles.
"It's time for Japan to step up to the plate," he told the
House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction on trade.
"At this juncture all eyes are on Japan to make sure they
provide comprehensive market access."
The United States and Japan are bogged down in negotiating
better access to Japan's markets for farmers and automakers and
an end to U.S. tariffs on imported Japanese cars, a stalemate
which is holding up wider talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The TPP is a centerpiece of U.S. President Barack Obama's
push to expand the United States' presence in Asia, an aim he
will pursue during a visit to the region, including Japan, later
Japan's deputy chief trade negotiator Hiroshi Oe told
reporters in Washington on Friday the United States also had to
show some flexibility, a criticism Froman rejected.
Japanese officials have visited Washington for two sets of
talks in the last week and Acting Deputy U.S. Trade
Representative Wendy Cutler will visit Tokyo from April 7 for
further negotiations ahead of Obama's visit. USTR officials have
played down expectations of a breakthrough during the trip.
The United States wants Japan to open up its rice, beef and
pork, dairy and sugar sectors and smooth the way for U.S. car
dealerships, while Japan is keen for a timetable on U.S.
promises to drop tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger
cars and 25 percent on light trucks.
The United States had hoped to complete the TPP, which
includes Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia and others, by
the end of last year but many issues are still on the table.
(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)