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Japan, EU eye early conclusion of FTA talks

Updated: 2013-11-19 22:14
( Xinhua)

TOKYO - Japan and the European Union (EU) reiterated their commitment to conclude a bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement and Free Trade Agreement at an early date, according to a joint press statement here on Tuesday.

The statement, which was released after a bilateral annual summit involving Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, also said they will exchange market access offers on goods, services and procurement so as to promote the negotiations.

Japan and EU launched free trade talks in March and have held talks three times since April. Japan is eager to conclude a deal with EU as the latter already has a free trade agreement with South Korea.

"We recognized there is still considerable way to go, and that time is pressing. For these reasons, we instructed our ministers and commissioners to assure that substantial progress is achieved before the formal review of the free trade negotiations in the EU which is scheduled in April next year," said Van Rompuy, adding the agreements "will be the game-changers for both EU and Japan."

Both sides also agreed that securing sustainable energy supplies remains "key challenges" as they have been striving to enhance their cooperation in natural gas.

The two sides also reiterated that trade, investment, research and innovation are the basis of sustainable growth, hoping to expand cooperation in research and innovation.

Other issues such as supporting global growth and stability, enhancing regional security, environment protection, nuclear issues of Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were also covered in their meeting, said the statement.