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Tuesday, 26th February 2008
In Business In Japan,

Japan seeks exemptions in trade negotiations

The government of Japan is said to be seeking a number of exemptions during trade negotiations with Australia.

Kyodo News has reported that, as part of the process of negotiating a free-trade agreement with Australia, five different products could be removed from the negotiating table.

The talks, which began yesterday (February 25th) are expected to continue until Friday (February 29th).

While Japan is concerned that free trade in sensitive areas could negatively affect domestic producers, Australia is expected to oppose the idea of exemptions.

"We intend to protect sectors that need to be protected," said Toshiro Shirasu, Japan's vice farm minister.

Japan is seeking exemptions for beef, rice, sugar, dairy produce and wheat.

While the specific terms of free-trade agreements can vary, in general they seek to remove trade barriers.

Japan already has a number of established bilateral free-trade agreements, with countries such as Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia.