The United States and Japan held a senior-level bilateral consultation on Japan’s interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The meeting was co-chaired by Wendy Cutler, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs, and by Takeshi Yagi, Director General for Economic Affairs of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, and included the participation of representatives of other U.S. and Japanese Government agencies. The meeting was the first official bilateral consultation with Japan following the November 2011 announcement by Prime Minister Noda expressing Japan’s intention to begin consultations with TPP countries toward joining the TPP negotiations.

In the meeting, Japanese officials delivered a report on the status of its domestic consultations on TPP as well as an update on Japan’s recent consultations with other TPP member countries. U.S. officials provided an update on the status of the TPP negotiations. U.S. officials also summarized and highlighted an array of general and specific issues raised by stakeholders in response to a recent Federal Register request for comment, which is one element of the United States’ ongoing domestic consultation process to assess Japan’s expression of interest in the TPP. These stakeholder comments included a range of sector-specific issues in the insurance, agriculture, and automotive sectors, among others, in addition to cross-sectoral issues. Japanese officials underscored the Japanese Government’s readiness to engage with the United States on a range of issues going forward.

As a next step, both governments agreed to hold a follow-up meeting at the working level on Feb. 21-22 in Washington, D.C., as the consultative process continues.