WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The United States and Japan began negotiations on a potential trade agreement.

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer met with Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi April 15-16 in Washington, D.C., U.S.

Agriculture was included in the continuation talks on the United States-Japan Trade Agreement, as well as a goal to establish high standards in the area of digital trade.

According to the USTR, the United States raised its trade deficit with Japan to $67.6 billion in goods in 2018.

While the path forward for these negotiations is not yet clear, the U.S. Wheat Associates supported the talks and was encouraged by the commitment to future meetings.

“The Trump administration has described several trade policy problems facing U.S. industry,” the association said. “USW agrees with many and questions some, but we have strong hopes for an improved global trading system following the disruption that many see as necessary to rebalance trade relationships. The administration clearly has not forgotten U.S. agriculture, as the USTR statement proves. Concluding an agreement with Japan to offset the effects of withdrawing from TPP would be a crucial and welcome step toward demonstrating to U.S. farmers that their interests still matter.”

Ambassador Lighthizer and Minister Motegi agreed that the United States and Japan will meet again in the near future to continue these talks.