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Japanese Minister Banri Kaieda visits Australia for FTA Talks

Japan's Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr Banri Kaieda, will visit Australia from 11 to 12 February 2011.

Australian Trade Minister, Dr Craig Emerson, and Mr Kaieda will hold the second Australia-Japan Trade and Economic Ministerial Dialogue in Sydney on Friday 11 February.

Announcing the visit, Dr Emerson said: “Australia and Japan have resumed Free Trade Agreement negotiations this week in Tokyo, and the proposed trade agreement will be the main focus of my discussions with Minister Kaieda on Friday.

“Mr Kaieda's visit reinforces the priority Japan has placed on advancing trade negotiations with Australia — a priority I share.”

The Gillard Government has applauded the Kan Government for its commitment to tackling domestic reform and making progress on international trade negotiations.

Mr Kaieda's visit to Australia follows that of Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara in November last year, after the Japanese Government released its new Basic Policy on Economic Partnership Agreements. The policy commits Japan to increasing its efforts to conclude the Australia-Japan Free Trade Agreement.

Dr Emerson and Mr Kaieda will also discuss ways to bring the World Trade Organization's Doha Round to a successful conclusion this year; joint efforts to strengthen regional economic integration through the East Asia Summit and APEC; and commercial opportunities for trade and investment, particularly in the resources and infrastructure sectors.

“Mr Kaieda's first visit to Australia so early after his appointment on 14 January 2011 highlights the importance both countries attach to the comprehensive economic partnership that we share,” Dr Emerson said.

Mr Kaieda will also meet the Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism, Mr Martin Ferguson.

Japan is Australia's second-largest trading partner and export market and third-largest source of foreign investment. Two-way trade with Japan was worth AUD 59 billion in 2009-10, and delivered Australia's largest bilateral trade surplus of AUD19 billion. Japan's stock of investment in Australia was values at AUD 102 billion at the end of 2009.

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