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Abe, Trump agree on trade talks; no US curbs on Japanese cars during negotiations

NEW YORK -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a summit meeting here on Sept. 26 that Tokyo and Washington will begin bilateral negotiations in a bid to sign a trade agreement on goods.

They also agreed that the United States will not impose curbs on imports of Japanese cars.

At the beginning of the roughly 75-minute meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump said the U.S. is "doing much more business, much more trade with Japan right now, and things are working out very well."

Abe replied that he would like to talk with the U.S. president about ways to reinforce bilateral economic ties. "I certainly look forward to having a very constructive discussion," he said.

According to the joint statement released after the summit, the two leaders "reaffirmed our determination to further expand trade and investment between the United States and Japan in a mutually beneficial manner, including through further concrete steps, as well as to realize free, fair, and open development of the global economy."

The two countries agreed to "respect" the positions of the other government in the new trade negotiations. As for farm products, Japan maintains that "outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan's previous economic partnership agreements constitute the maximum level," according to the statement. Washington, meanwhile, sticks to the position that market access outcomes for cars will be designed to increase U.S. production and auto industry jobs.

The two leaders also exchanged opinions about the North Korean situation. They reaffirmed that they will try to ensure that past United Nations Security Council sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang will be fully implemented toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Prime Minister Abe also requested U.S. support for the settlement of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

The meeting between Abe and Trump was the eighth between the two leaders, and the first one since June this year in Washington. The bilateral meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, minister for economic revitalization Toshimitsu Motegi, and Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the Japanese side. American attendees included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

(Japanese original by Yu Takayama, Political News Department, and Kenji Shimizu, North America General Bureau)

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