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Japan, India to start EPA talks: official

Mainichi Daily News, Japan

Japan, India to start EPA talks: official

7 September 2006

Japan expects to gain agreement from India by the end of this year to start talks on a bilateral economic partnership agreement, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

Japan hopes to start detailed talks on the EPA, including a free trade agreement, next year after achieving an agreement between Junichiro Koizumi’s successor as prime minister and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is slated to visit Japan, the official said.

On EPA talks with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the official said Japan will be able to reach basic accords on EPAs with Indonesia and Brunei by the end of this year.

Japan and the Philippines are slated to ink their EPA at a meeting between Koizumi and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be held in Helsinki on Saturday. It will be Japan’’s fourth such pact.

By realizing early talks with India, Japan hopes to regain ground on China, which is pushing ahead with free trade and economic partnership talks with other Asian countries. (Jiji Press)