Japan, fresh from Australia pact, says U.S. trade talks 'difficult'

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Japan, fresh from clinching a basic trade deal with Australia after years of negotiations, said it hoped for a similar result with the United States and for a regional pact, but cautioned that talks were "difficult." Japan and the United States are pushing for a two-way trade deal, a crucial part of a broad U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Japan later this month, with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman arriving for talks with Economy Minister Akira Amari. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed a basic agreement on a deal on Monday, overcoming sticking points on beef and automobiles that had long stymied an agreement, and agreed to work towards signing it as soon as possible.