Motegi’s comments suggest that American concessions may also be one of a magnitude that would require a U.S. congressional nod. He was speaking after a summit between Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington, at which the bilateral trade deal sought by the U.S. was one of the main topics of discussion.
The two sides kicked off trade talks last week, after more than two years of foot-dragging by Japan, which sought to persuade the U.S. to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. That deal was the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
Under the original TPP agreement, Japan secured tariff cuts for autos and auto parts in the U.S. market. Trump has frequently lashed out at Japan for its trade surplus with the U.S., especially in the auto sector and insisted on bilateral talks.
“I think the president was referring to a time frame for coming to an agreement,” Motegi said. “But I think he was expressing a hope.”