Japan and Canada to Sit Together for Free-Trade TalksTuesday, October 30, 2012 > 11:27:10
(Japan Daily – Ida Torres)
Members of Canada’s House of Commons standing committee on international trade will be in Japan this week to meet with Canadian companies already doing business there. This will be in preparation for the upcoming free-trade talks between the two countries next month.
Ed Fast, Canada’s International Trade Minister, said that representatives from Canada and Japan will be in Tokyo on November 26 this year to discuss a possible treaty that will hopefully foster trade and investments between the two. The talks were formally launched last March by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Japan, with the world’s third largest economy, is in Canada’s sights as it is their fourth largest foreign market for goods export and also one of their largest foreign direct investors. It will not be a simple task to getting into an Asian economy that is notorious for its import restrictions, non-tariff barriers facing foreign companies, and regulations that seem designed to frustrate foreign manufacturers. Japan has yet to sign a free-trade agreement with any of the Great Eight countries. On the other hand, Canada only has a 6.1% tariff on Japanese autos and parts.
Trade negotiations has been one of the major focus of Prime Minister Harper’s foreign policy. This set of talks is the fourth in a series of major free-trade talks that have included the European Union, India, and the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. However, Canada has yet to land a major trade agreement, although Canadian and European officials insist that one is nearly finished.