Japan and Chile began talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) Feb. 23, the foreign ministry here said, as the world's number two economy broadens efforts to tear down barriers to its exports. The two-day talks in Tokyo at the vice ministerial level will discuss how to proceed with the negotiations including a time frame, according to officials at Japan's foreign ministry.
"Japan's chief interest in the FTA with Chile lies in a reduction of tariffs for exports of cars and heavy machinery to Chile," said a Japanese foreign ministry official.
Japan has been increasingly pursuing free trade pacts to secure access to raw materials and markets for its exports. Its first-ever FTA took effect in late 2002 with Singapore and a second accord went into force in April with Mexico.
Japan has reached similar, broad agreements with Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. It has ongoing negotiations with South Korea, Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006