(Photo courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov)
This is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to its subscribers.
President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will review the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, but will not announce a bilateral deal on the 12-nation agreement, White House officials said today in a call previewing next week’s visit.
On the call, Caroline Atkinson, deputy national security adviser for international economics, praised the “positive momentum” on Capitol Hill, citing the approval of the trade promotion authority bill by the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
But on TPP, she said, “We are not there yet for a final deal, and more work is needed. We expect the leaders to review the progress and to have the opportunity to discuss the next steps together, but we do not expect any announcement of a final deal.”
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said that the United States and Japan have closed out many issues and are now down to the “sensitive” issues of automobiles and agriculture.
Rhodes said the state visit, which will include a dinner for 300 people at the White House, is part of a broader effect to “rebalance” the U.S. relationship in the Pacific region. While the leaders of China and Indonesia will also visit the White House this year, the cornerstone of the pivot to Asia is with “traditional allies” such as Japan, he added.
Rhodes also said Obama and Abe will focus on defense matters and U.S.-Japanese cooperation on other issues, including climate change and relations with North Korea and Southeast Asia, Russia and Iran. They are also expected to discuss the empowerment of women and girls, which First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted when she recently visited Japan.
In addition to the state dinner on Tuesday evening, Abe will speak to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden will also host him at a luncheon at the State Department.
Abe’s U.S. visit also includes Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
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