U.S., Japan Preparing to Reconvene Talks on Trade Surplus

From Reuters

The United States and Japan are expected to announce today that they have found enough common ground to reconvene their trade negotiations, official sources said.

The officials cautioned that further talks were to take place later Monday and that the scenario could yet change.

"You are going to see an American side that's pleased, because what there is is an agreement on the Japanese side of a result-oriented approach," said one source close to the talks.

Negotiations aimed at narrowing Japan's $131-billion trade surplus with the United States broke down in February. Representatives of both sides have been meeting here since Thursday, trying to get the talks back on track.

Barring any change of plan Monday night, an official announcement that the two sides plan to resume talks shortly can be expected today.

"The idea is to get moving. There's a strong sense that they want to roll up their sleeves and get to work," one source said.

The talks collapsed in large part due to differences over U.S. insistence on "objective criteria" for measuring progress toward opening Japan's markets. That issue remained something of a sticking point in the current consultations, one source said. But another source said U.S. officials would be "very satisfied" on the issue.

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