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Japan, fresh from pact with Australia, says US trade talks difficult

Published on Apr 9, 2014 10:11 AM
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prior to a National Security Council meeting at the latter's official residence in Tokyo on April 7, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP 

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan, fresh from clinching a trade deal with Australia, said on Tuesday it hoped for a similar result in negotiations with the United States and also for a broad regional trade pact, but said the talks would be difficult.

Japan and the United States are pushing for a two-way trade deal, a crucial part of a broad US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), before US President Barack Obama arrives in Japan this month.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman will hold talks with Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari on Wednesday, although a senior U.S. lawmaker said there was little chance of a breakthrough as long as the White House did not have fast-track authority to guarantee a quick passage through Congress.

The TPP, a 12-nation grouping that would stretch from Asia to Latin America, is a centerpiece of Mr Obama's push to expand the US presence in Asia.

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