Japan eyes FTA breakthrough with Indonesia

Tokyo (Antara News) - Japan said Thursday it hoped to reach an outline deal on a free trade agreement with Indonesia later this month in time for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to Tokyo.

"Japan wants to advance the negotiations on the economic partnership with Indonesia towards the visit of the president," Foreign Minister Taro Aso was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement after meeting Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu.

Pangestu for her part said Indonesia would make efforts to expedite the trade negotiations, the ministry said.

A ministry official later said that Japan "will seek a broad agreement on the free trade by the time Indonesian president visits" from November 26-29.

The two Asian nations agreed in July last year to begin working towards the signing of a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which includes trade in goods and services, investment, movement of people and competition
policies.

Japan last month held a sixth round of talks with Indonesia on a bilateral free trade agreement, aiming to overcome differences.

Japan has been increasingly pursuing free trade pacts, seeking to secure access to raw materials and markets for its exports. (*)
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