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Japan, U.S. deepened understanding over positions on trade-Motegi

Japan and the United States deepened their understanding over each other's position on trade and will continue discussions, Japan's economy minister said after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday.

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) - Japan and the United States deepened their understanding over each other's position on trade and will continue discussions, Japan's economy minister said after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, held in Washington, D.C., Toshimitsu Motegi said he exchanged views on trade "candidly" with his counterpart, but refrained from commenting on details.

"Japan and the U.S. have been sorting out points of discussion over trade issues and those points are clarifying but we need to continue ministerial talks," Motegi said.

"We will coordinate a meeting with USTR Lighthizer, probably in Osaka ahead of G20 summit late this month," he said.

Motegi said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to talk about various topics, not only trade issue but also the situation in the East Asia and international affairs when they meet at G20 summit.

He expects both leaders will basically confirm the progress of trade talks between the two nations.

Responding to a journalist's question, Motegi said Japan has been requesting for Washington to cut its tariffs on industrial products.

Trump has threatened to target Japanese automakers with high tariffs. When he visited Japan in May, Trump pressed Abe to even out a trade imbalance with the United States.

Washington wants Japan to cut tariffs on U.S. farm products to restore their competitiveness after Trump shunned an 11-nation Pacific trade pact.

Japan has stressed the two countries had agreed in a September deal that market access steps, or tariff cuts, for farm goods would not exceed those of Japan's other deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

(Reporting by David Lawder in Washington, writing by Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

((kaori.kaneko@thomsonreuters.com; +81-3-6441-1983; Reuters Messaging: kaori.kaneko.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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