Added by admin on February 11, 2011
Craig Emerson, Australia’s Trade Minister, stated that the country would encourage Japan with regard to scrapping the country’s import tariffs for the agricultural industry.
However, the minister added, the encouragement would not persist during free-trade negotiations. Emerson and his Japanese counterpart, Banri Kaieda, have already discussed but did not make public any information with regard to their talks.
Japan is subsidizing its farm sector with tariffs of 250 percent on imported wheat and no less than 800 percent on rice imports.
The country wants to continue to protect this sector, although Prime Minister Naoto Kan said early last month that he hoped this year would be the one during which Japan would open up to other countries.
Free-trade negotiations between Japanese and Australian officials have begun back in 2007, in Canberra. Next week, on Thursday, diplomats from the two countries are to meet in Tokyo to hold the 12th round of talks with regard to the issue.
“Our side has reported to me some very encouraging developments in terms of engagement from the Japanese side. It’s a continuation of the newfound momentum in the negotiations. Of course, there are still challenges that need to be overcome. We are seeking only to encourage the reform process,” said Trade Ministers Emerson and Kaieda during a joint statement which was given today.