Abe may meet with U.S. commerce secretary on Tuesday as nations launch economic dialogue

Arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Tokyo in the coming week, government sources have said.

Japan and the U.S. are to launch a bilateral economic dialogue on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Seen as a trade hawk, Ross has expressed his intention to visit Japan but is not expected to join the economic dialogue, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the sources said Friday, adding he could meet with Abe on Tuesday.

Ross has said bilateral trade agreements are high priorities. President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement.

Trump is eager to address his country’s trade deficits, and concern has grown in Tokyo that the United States will press Japan to boost imports of U.S. autos and agricultural products.

When Abe met with Trump in February, they decided to launch the high-level dialogue to discuss topics from macroeconomic policy and trade to cooperation on infrastructure and energy.

Currency policy is not expected to be on the agenda; Abe has said it should be discussed between the finance chiefs of the two countries.

Aso, who doubles as finance minister, is expected to meet with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of a meeting of the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers Thursday in Washington and again in Los Angeles when he visits the United States in early May, the sources said.

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