Australia and Japan want quick FTA

AUSTRALIA - Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Fujio Mitarai, chief of Japan's largest business group, have agreed that the two nations should try to conclude a free-trade agreement speedily, Japanese business leaders said.
calendar icon 8 February 2007
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The accord came at a meeting Tuesday between Howard and Mitarai, who was in Canberra leading a delegation from the Japanese Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren).

Howard told the Japanese business leaders Australia wants the envisioned free-trade pact to cover all merchandise sectors, including farm products that are important for the Australian economy, they said.

In a string of talks with Japanese trade negotiators, Australia has demanded Japan agree to have such farm goods as beef, wheat and dairy products in the pact, in addition to manufactured industrial goods whose trade decontrol is key to Japan.

But in Japan, panels of legislators in charge of farm policy at both the House of Representatives and House of Councilors earlier adopted motions calling on the government to exclude politically sensitive farm produce.

Source: The Japan Times
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