TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Monday urged Japan to open its market to American cars and insurance companies, which would pave the way for a broader regional free trade agreement.
Froman told reporters that the ongoing talks with Japan dealing with such historical sticking points are tied to the success of the larger and parallel Pacific free trade negotiations.
"There are longstanding issues," he said at the Japan National Press Club.
Japan joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations involving 12 countries on July 23, aimed at achieving regional free trade. The Japan-US talks are dealing with non-tariff barriers such as the auto and insurance industries.
Froman, in Asia for talks on the regional trade pact and meetings with his Southeast Asian counterparts, said the historical issues highlight a sense in some industries that "Japan's success came at the expense of others."
He said that imported vehicles make up a tiny fraction of the Japanese market, although nearly half the U.S. auto market is controlled by foreign manufacturers.
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