December 13, 2011


Japan requests Australia to accept rice, beef high tariffs


An acceptance of Japan's high tariffs on rice and beef imports has been requested by Japan to Australia on Monday (Dec 12) in negotiations on a free trade agreement, Japanese officials said.


The request came at a meeting in Tokyo between Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano and his Australian counterpart Joe Ludwig.


When Kano asked Ludwig to understand that Japan has sensitive products subject to cautious treatment, Ludwig answered that the two countries should find a compromise through talks, the officials said.


Australia has asked Japan to lower tariffs on beef and some other imports at past free trade negotiations. The two countries plan to resume free trade talks within this month.


Kano also told Ludwig that Japan would decide whether to participate in multilateral talks on the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement after ascertaining Australian requests to Japan. In response, Ludwig urged Japan to retain interests in the TPP.


The Japanese minister also called on Australia to cooperate with Japan in deterring anti-whaling activists' obstructing Japan's research-purpose whaling in the Antarctic Sea.

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