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Japan, Turkey open trade talks in Tokyo

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Staff writer ▼ | December 2, 2014
Japan Turkey
Tokyo   To further strengthen economic cooperation

Japan and Turkey began their first round of negotiations Monday for a bilateral free trade agreement, aiming to further strengthen economic cooperation.

The meeting, to be held over two days in Tokyo, follows an agreement reached in January between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now Turkey's president, to launch FTA negotiations this year.

Japan wants to quickly seal an agreement with Turkey after the country signed a free trade deal with South Korea last year that could undermine Japan's competitiveness in exports.

Turkey, with a domestic market of more than 75 million people, has enjoyed rapid economic growth in recent years. With its geographical proximity to Europe, Africa and other Middle Eastern countries, it has attracted companies as a hub that connects businesses with the neighboring nations.

According to a report of the joint study group on the bilateral FTA, Japan's main exports to Turkey are industrial products, such as automobiles, vessels and construction machines. Tokyo is particularly interested in the abolition of Turkish tariffs on automobiles and auto parts.

Turkey mainly exports agricultural goods and textile products, such as clothing and carpets, to Japan. The issue of market access for Japanese farm goods could be a point of contention as it is a politically sensitive area for Tokyo, a Foreign Ministry official said.

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