US: Access to Japan's auto market is key to pact

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says it has yet to resolve differences with Japan over autos and other market access issues that are key hurdles to finalizing a trans-Pacific trade pact.

The U.S. and Japan are the two largest of the 12 economies negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is key to the Obama administration's effort to boost trade with fast-growing Asian economies.

Trade representative Michael Froman met with Japan's Economy Minister Akira Amari in Washington during the weekend. Froman says the two sides are making progress but "are not there yet."

Froman told a Washington think tank Tuesday that a "robust outcome" to address historical barriers to access to Japan's auto market is "absolutely critical" if the U.S. is going to complete the pact with Japan.