Sydney Morning Herald
Sino FTA more likely than Japan: Howard
2 May 2005
Prime Minister John Howard has conceded clinching a free trade agreement with China was more likely than with Japan.
Mr Howard has just returned from a tour of Japan, China, Turkey and Greece.
Australia and China agreed to start negotiations on a free trade agreement, but Australia and Japan had only decided to conduct a feasibility study into a similar deal.
"I think it’s more likely to come off with China than Japan and we have, in fact, commenced negotiations on a free trade agreement with China," Mr Howard told ABC Radio National.
"All we’ve agreed to with Japan is a feasibility study."
But trade relations with both countries were tremendous, he said.
China and Japan were the pick of the crop, alongside the United States, the European Union and South Korea.
"Given the difficulties with Japanese agriculture ... it was good to get agreement on a feasibility study."