Japan, US struggle to bridge gap on freer trade
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Japan, US struggle to bridge gap on freer trade

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese and U.S. negotiators have not managed to reach a basic agreement on a free trade pact that might have served as a centerpiece for President Barack Obama’s visit to Tokyo this week.

Japan’s economy minister Akira Amari told reporters Tuesday that the two sides remained “at a considerable distance” over trade in farm products and vehicles, a day before Obama arrives.

He said the two sides would continue talks ahead of Obama’s summit on Thursday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A Japan-U.S. agreement is seen as crucial for progress on a wider deal for the 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP aims to set rules for trade and is seen as a precursor to a future wide free-trade arrangement for the Pacific Rim region.