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U.S. agriculture secretary urges Japan to reach trade deal

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urged Japan on Monday to move swiftly to clinch a trade deal with Washington on farm products and other goods, in a way that would treat his country fairly as "premier customer."

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"President (Donald) Trump is really looking forward to a deal sooner rather than later," Perdue told reporters.

"He would welcome an agreement," Perdue added when asked about a possibility of a trade deal when Trump meets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan later this month.

"We cannot continue to kick this trade can down the road forever," he said, adding that it was time to get a goal.

However, Perdue also suggested that a quick deal might be difficult.

He said details of negotiations such as the degree and timing of a trade deal are being left to top negotiators of the both countries - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

"We are very much aware of the elections of the upper body (of Japan's parliament) coming up in July. We are respectful of that, but President Trump is expecting again Japan would treat us as their premier customer as we are."

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