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Japan trying to resume FTA talks with S. Korea

Tuesday February 22, 2005

Gov’t ministers trying to resume FTA talks with S. Korea

(Kyodo) - Three Cabinet ministers agreed Tuesday they should work to encourage South Korea to resume bilateral free trade agreement talks with Japan that have been suspended due to differences over farm trade, government officials said.

Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Nobuhiro Shimamura met at a Tokyo hotel to discuss how best to deal with the stalled talks on the FTA that the government hopes to strike within this year.

They confirmed they should take advantage of South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki Moon’s planned Japan visit in March and other opportunities to call for the resumption, the officials said.

The bilateral negotiations have made little progress as South Korea has criticized Japanese-planned liberalization of farm product imports as being far from sufficient.

The two countries have yet to exchange respective requests and proposals regarding tariff reductions. No schedule has been set for future talks.

 source: Kyodo