September 24, 2018 / 10:34 PM / 3 months ago

U.S., Japan postpone NY trade talks to Tuesday -source

TOKYO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Japan and the United States postponed their second round of trade talks in New York to Tuesday from Monday, a Japanese official said, amid concerns in Tokyo that Japan will face greater pressure to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi were scheduled to meet on Monday evening, ahead of a Wednesday summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

But the U.S. side, citing Lighthizer’s schedule, asked to delay the meeting, which is now scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) on Tuesday, the official, with direct knowledge of planning for the meeting, told Reuters.

Lighthizer and Motegi met in August, failing to narrow differences on whether to open up negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement.

Abe, after a Sunday dinner with Trump, told reporters the two had constructive talks on trade, which Motegi and Lighthizer would continue.

Japan is hoping to avert any import curbs and potentially steeper U.S. import tariffs on its cars, and fend off U.S. demands for a free trade agreement.

Japanese media have said Japan is considering a bilateral agreement that would lower tariffs on U.S. agriculture imports in exchange for avoiding higher tariffs on Japanese autos. (Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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