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

Published on Apr 8, 2014 11:23 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan, fresh from clinching a basic trade deal with Australia after years of negotiations, said it hoped for a similar result with the United States and for a regional pact, but cautioned that talks were "difficult."

Japan and the US 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 later this month, with US Trade Representative Michael Froman arriving for talks with Economy Minister Akira Amari.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed a basic agreement on a deal on Monday, overcoming sticking points on beef and automobiles that had long stymied an agreement, and agreed to work towards signing it as soon as possible.

The hurdles to a deal between Washington and Tokyo include access to Japan's farm and car markets, and US tariffs on imported cars and trucks.

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