TOKYO (Reuters) – Officials from Japan and China will hold high-level economic talks for the first time in eight years next week amid growing concern over an escalating trade row between China and the United States, the Asahi Newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso, commenting on the reported meeting on April 16, said he was aware that China had suddenly proposed talks but did not have any other details.
The United States and China have threatened each other with tariffs amid the U.S. government’s growing frustration with China’s policies on trade and intellectual property.
Financial markets have been roiled in the past week on fears a full-blown U.S-China trade war could shatter global trade and economic growth.
Trump has made comments critical of Japan’s trade deficit with the United States and Japan’s low level of U.S. auto imports.
Trump has so far refrained from threatening Japan with tariffs, but officials in Tokyo have expressed their desire to avoid trade friction with the United States.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet Trump for a summit later this month. Japanese officials worry that Trump could target Abe’s weak-yen policies, which reduce the price of Japan’s exports.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)