U.S. trade representative presses Japan to take 'elevated view' in trade talks

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States put last-minute pressure on Japan to compromise in trade talks on Wednesday, shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit.

“This a moment for Japan to take an elevated view and to choose a bold path of economic renewal, revitalization and regional leadership,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after negotiating with Economy Minister Akira Amari ahead of Obama’s evening arrival.

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

The Trans-Pacific Partnership talks are at “an important crossroads,” Froman said in brief remarks. He did not take questions. “Its economic and strategic importance is clear.”

Obama is having dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday and will hold a summit meeting on Thursday focusing on security issues as well as trade. 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 Antoni Slodkowski; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Dominic Lau