William Francis Hagerty, left, with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), arrives for the Senate Foreign Relation committee nomination hearing to be ambassador to Japan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Trump's Japan envoy pick says he's optimistic on trade deal


The businessman in line to be American ambassador to Japan said Thursday that he was optimistic about reaching a deal with Japan that could mean equal or better results than the Asia-Pacific agreement that President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of after taking office.

William Hagerty told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump's Cabinet are engaged in an "economic dialogue" aimed at a bilateral trade pact with Japan. And making strides on a personal level with Japanese leaders.

Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's Florida resort in February, and Pence communicates regularly with Japan's vice prime minister, he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have traveled to Japan in the early months of the Trump administration. The U.S. has tried to reassure Japan that Washington's rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal did not signal a U.S. withdrawal from trade and economic development in the region.

"So at a personal level, at a relationship level, I see advancement taking place that encourages me that we will be able to still achieve a good deal of what we'd hoped to accomplish in the TPP, what might have been hoped before," Hagerty said using the acronym for the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

Hagerty is a founder and the managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Company, a private equity investment firm in Nashville, Tennessee, according to a brief biography on the company's web site. He took a leave of absence last year to serve as director of presidential appointments for the Trump transition team.

A native of Tennessee, Hagerty graduated from Vanderbilt University with an economics degree and attended Vanderbilt Law School.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Director of a private equity investment firm. Yeah, that's all we needed to know. We know where he's coming from.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Since the plaza agreement United States has been making Japan a nation having no backbone.

Free trade agreement with the United States it's always the same pattern, new rules that will benefit only America largest companies, no benefitis for japanese consumers, no benefitis for american consumers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It doesn't matter Democrats or Republicans,

they want more and more money from your Big Cash dispenser.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Trump finally found a billionaire buddy to take the job,uh?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why can't they bully China instead?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If we are to believe all the noise around Brexit etc this deal will take at least 9 years to agree.  In the interim how do they trade?  WTO?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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