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Australia-Japan FTA negotiatioins 6th round, Tokyo 28 July - 1 August 2008.



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The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Trade

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Media contact: Mr Crean’s Office 02 6277 7420

Departmental (02) 6261 1555

SC056 25 July 2008

AUSTRALIA-JAPAN FTA NEGOTIATIONS 6TH ROUND, TOKYO 28 JULY - 1 AUGUST 2008

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, announced today that market access requests on services and investment would be exchanged at the sixth round of Australia-Japan FTA negotiations, to be held in Tokyo next week. It will be the first negotiation round since the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan, when he underlined the importance of services to the bilateral relationship.

“While Australia’s top priority is achieving multilateral trade liberalisation, we pursue comprehensive FTAs that support multilateral trade reform, that are WTO plus and that set liberalising benchmarks which can serve as models for other countries,” said Mr Crean.

“An FTA with Japan offers potential to create opportunities for Australia's service providers and to expand trade in services between our two countries.”

“While Japan is, by far, Australia's largest merchandise trade destination, it ranks only 6th as a destination for services exports.”

“Australian negotiators will, in particular, seek better access for Australian providers of financial services, telecommunications, professional services and education and training.”

Mr Crean said that negotiations would also continue on Australia and Japan’s initial requests and offers on trade in goods, exchanged at the fifth round.

“Australia is seeking a comprehensive FTA that will help secure and improve Australia’s access to its largest export market, and the second-largest economy in the world.”

“In negotiations to date, Japan has sought the exclusion of a range of agricultural items of interest to Australia.”

“The Australian negotiating team will therefore continue to focus on Australia’s agricultural market access requests at the sixth round. They will ensure that key areas of interest, including Australian beef, dairy, wheat, barley and sugar exports are discussed with Japan,” he said, adding that he expected Australian negotiators to raise other agricultural exports at subsequent meetings.

The Australia-Japan FTA is a high priority for the Government, with eleven Government agencies represented on the delegation.