By Krista Hughes
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japan and the United States failed to make progress in bilateral talks, both sides said on Wednesday, dealing a blow for hopes of sealing an ambitious multilateral trade deal this year.
“Japan made a flexible proposal, but we weren’t able to make further progress,” Trade Minister Akira Amari told reporters on Wednesday evening after two days of talks in Washington. “Further negotiations are undecided.”
Amari met with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who last week urged Tokyo to ramp up efforts to break the standoff between the two biggest economies in the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Froman’s office said the two sides had had “constructive working-level discussions over the weekend” but that the ministers “were unable to make further progress on the key outstanding issues” of car and farm trade.