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Press Conference by Minister Seko (excerpted version)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.

9:11 - 9:16 a.m.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

Japan-US Summit Meeting

Q: At the Japan-US Summit Meeting, establishment of a new framework for economic dialogue was agreed. How do you assess the outcome of the summit including this framework?

A: During this summit, I understand that frank and meaningful discussions occurred not only on national security issues including responding to North Korea, but also on economic issues, towards the further strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.
 In terms of economic issues, it was agreed that consultations would begin for free, fair and reciprocal trade, which will further expand trade and investment in both countries. Based on the fair rules which would be established with such a firm economic base between the two countries, we will make efforts to realize open-and-free economic development in the Indo-Pacific region.
 I expect that discussions between Minister Motegi and Mr. Lighthizer will be fruitful.

Q: As for the new trade consultations, at the dinner after the summit meeting, President Trump expressed a strong willingness to conduct consultations for a few weeks to figure out the details of fair trade. It would be urgent to form a consultation team on the Japanese side, but within what time frame would it be formed and how would METI play a part?

A: As for the consultation structure on the Japanese side, it has yet to be decided. We are to discuss this within the government.

Q: I understand that METI has jurisdiction over trade. How will you be involved?

A: Of course we are going to firmly support Minister Motegi.

Q: As for the import restriction measures on steel and aluminum products, an agreement for an exemption for import restriction measures for Japan has not been finalized. What are your thoughts on this point?

A: All we need to do is to maintain a continued and persistent dialogue with the US.

Q: As for the new framework, President Trump mentioned in the press conference that bilateral consultations would be desirable. In that framework the US is likely to request further concessions from Japan such as elimination of non-tariff barriers for automobiles and opening agricultural product markets. What are your thoughts on this point?

A: There is no way to know until the dialogue begins. Many different interests and positions are under discussion for adjustment. That is the nature of trade negotiations.

Last updated:2018-04-23