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President Barack Obama and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda won’t be ready to announce a breakthrough on Japan joining a Pacific trade agreement, a top issue on the agenda for their White House meeting on April 30, an administration official said.
Along with trade and the global economy, the two leaders will discuss the realignment of U.S. forces in Asia, the standoff with North Korea and negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, according to the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House.
Obama and Noda will hold a news conference after their meeting, which will be the third between the leaders.
The Obama administration is seeking to complete negotiations this year on the nine-nation trade accord known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, along with Canada and Mexico has expressed interest in joining the talks among the U.S., Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brunei. It would be the biggest U.S. trade deal since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
Two-way trade between the U.S. and Japan totaled $181 billion in 2010, compared with $171 billion in U.S. trade with the eight other nations already in the talks, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
Japan and the U.S. yesterday announced an agreement to relocate about 9,000 Marines from Okinawa, reducing a source of bilateral friction. The countries haven’t worked out the relocation of 10,000 U.S. Marines remaining on Okinawa.
While there won’t be a state dinner for Noda at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hold a dinner in his honor, the official said.
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