Japan Amari: Briefed PM Abe on trade talks before Obama arrival

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Wednesday that he briefed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on trade talks with the United States shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit.

Amari, speaking to reporters after negotiating with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, declined to comment on the substance of the talks.

The bilateral talks, focusing on Japan’s agricultural market and both countries’ car markets, are key to concluding a multilateral Pacific trade pact.

Both sides have said the summit is not a deadline for the bilateral trade talks but experts say that if Obama and Abe do not announce substantive progress now, the impetus for a deal could wane.

Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Edmund Klamann