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China's March exports shrink, adding to danger of job losses as economy slows

BEIJING, China - China reported an unexpected contraction in exports in March, raising the danger of job losses as Beijing tries to overhaul its slowing economy. Customs data Thursday showed that exports fell 6.6 per cent from a year earlier, well below analysts' expectations of single-digit growth. Imports contracted by 11.3 per cent, highlighting the weakness in Chinese growth.

U.S. Trade Representative: Talks with Japan 'tough,' will continue

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan-U.S. trade negotiations this week were "tough" but are making progress toward an agreement, a key element of Pacific-wide talks, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday. Tokyo and Washington are hoping to reach a broad agreement on the bilateral outstanding issues at a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Japanese capital on April 24, seen as a possible milestone for advancing the stalled TPP talks involving the two countries and 10 others.

U.S. Trade Representative: Talks with Japan 'tough,' will continue

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan-U.S. trade negotiations this week were "tough" but are making progress toward an agreement, a key element of Pacific-wide talks, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday. Tokyo and Washington are hoping to reach a broad agreement on the bilateral outstanding issues at a summit between U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Japanese capital on April 24, seen as a possible milestone for advancing the stalled TPP talks involving the two countries and 10 others.

Japan, U.S. continue marathon talks to break TPP deadlock

Japan and the United States on Thursday continued marathon talks aimed at resolving their differences seen as crucial to concluding a broad Pacific free trade agreement. Thursday's talks between Akira Amari, Japan's minister in charge of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, comes after more than 10 hours of discussions the day before over the issues of market access for agriculture and autos, the biggest sticking points. Both sides have said there are still considerable gaps.

S. Korea left with little choice on rice market opening: officials

By Byun Duk-kun SEJONG, April 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea may have no choice but to open up its rice market, government officials here said Thursday, one day after the World Trade Organization (WTO) again rejected the Philippines' request to waiver its mandatory rice market liberalization. It was the sixth time the WTO rejected such a request since the negotiations began in 2011, according to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Japan, U.S. fail to move closer over TPP before Obama visit

Japan and the United States failed Wednesday to move closer over outstanding issues in their bilateral talks related to a Pacific regional trade pact, providing little hope of a breakthrough before U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo scheduled for only two weeks away.

Abe to visit Europe from late April to early May, join OECD meeting

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit Europe from late April to early May, during which he will attend a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, Japanese government sources said Wednesday.

Abe willing to attend OECD meeting in May in Paris

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday expressed his intention to attend a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development scheduled for May in Paris. "Japan is to chair the ministerial council meeting (of the OECD). If circumstances allow, I would like to go to Paris and deliver a keynote speech" during the May 6-7 session, Abe told a symposium in Tokyo that marked the 50th anniversary of Japan's accession to the club of wealthy nations.

Customs clearance to be simplified for products purchased through foreign websites

SEJONG, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's customs agency said Wednesday it will simplify the customs clearance process for low-priced consumption goods purchased on foreign websites, a move aimed at shortening delivery time and increasing benefits to consumers. The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said it will apply the clearance process called "de minimis" to consumption goods bought from foreign websites starting in July.

Customs clearance to be simplified for products purchased through foreign websites

SEJONG, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's customs agency said Wednesday it will simplify the customs clearance process for low-priced consumption goods purchased on foreign websites, a move aimed at shortening delivery time and increasing benefits to consumers. The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said it will apply the clearance process called "de minimis" to consumption goods bought from foreign websites starting in July.
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