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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan, U.S. Fail to Agree as Talks Start

GENEVA -- Senior U.S. negotiators said Thursday the United States and Japan were still apart on major issues in talks to resolve their car dispute but they did not expect a trade war.

Their comments followed similar remarks by a Japanese negotiator after three hours of talks aimed at resolving the row and heading off sanctions Washington has said it will implement Wednesday.

The two nations launched a last-ditch bid Thursday to resolve their dispute but gave no sign they were ready for the compromises that both say are essential.

Negotiators for the two powers met for the first time since May 5 when U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor suspended a two-year effort to cut a deal and said sanctions would be imposed on Japan.

As he went into the talks at Japan's mission in Geneva, U.S. Under-Secretary for Commerce Jeffrey Garten said they were "about opening Japanese markets and being able to assess the progress once those markets are open" -- or an accord on measurable results.

Japanese officials have consistently rejected such demands, over which the last round of talks in Canada foundered, as amounting to "managed trade."

Yoshihiro Sakamoto, Japan's vice minister for international trade, said it would be difficult to find a solution before the sanctions go into force Wednesday "if the American side keeps on repeating its position."

And Sakamoto told a separate meeting with U.S. officials at the World Trade Organization, or WTO, that chances of an accord would be better if Washington canceled the sanctions -- 100 percent tariffs worth $5.9 billion on Japanese luxury cars.