TOKYO Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he felt that Group of 20 countries shared a common understanding that free trade is important.
Aso also said that the agenda for the U.S.-Japan economic dialogue starting next month had not been decided, but he wanted to have constructive talks that are mutually beneficial to both sides in the areas of trade and economics.
Aso's comments on free trade, however, are unlikely to ease concerns about the threat of protectionism.
Financial leaders of G20 economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open at a summit over the weekend, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after a two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Chris Gallagher)