The United States is finding talks with Japan on opening its agricultural market "extremely tough", a senior U.S. trade official said on Friday, as the two countries prepared for another round of bilateral negotiations. Japanese officials will visit Washington next week in a bid to break a deadlock over tariffs on farm and industrial products, which is drawing out plans to conclude a wider free trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The United States had hoped to wrap up the deal last year, but ministerial-level talks in Singapore last month ended with many issues still on the table, most notably Japan's protection of its farm sector. U.S. Acting Deputy Trade Representative Wendy Cutler said Japan was moving very slowly, despite a commitment to work towards a comprehensive and high-standard agreement when it joined the TPP talks last year.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — Former presidential candidates and a few new potential White House contenders known for their focus on social values are trying out their speeches, as early auditions for the next Republican presidential contest rolled on Friday at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists.
CHICAGO (AP) — When superrich Republican Bruce Rauner decided to run for governor of Illinois, it was clear this wouldn't be the kind of race the state was accustomed to. Rauner, who made his fortune as a venture capitalist, was new to campaigning and bragged of being beholden to no one. He came out swinging at entrenched special interests and "government union bosses" with an intensity not seen before.
A United States warship crossed Turkey's Bosphorus Strait Friday, headed towards the Black Sea, as tensions simmer over Ukraine's Crimea region. The US Navy said in a statement on Thursday that the ship was bound for the Black Sea to conduct military exercises with Bulgarian and Romanian naval forces. According to the Montreux Convention, warships of countries which do not border the Black Sea can only stay in the waters for 21 days. On Tuesday, two Russian warships crossed the Bosphorus after the Kremlin "summoned" the vessels back to its Black Sea fleet to strengthen its military presence in Crimea.