Japan and Mexico are expected to sign a free trade pact in October when President Vicente Fox visits Japan, a senior government official said Tuesday.

“We hope the two nations will be able to ink an FTA in October if working-level negotiations go well,” the official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on condition of anonymity.

If signed, the FTA will be the second for Japan following the pact inked with Singapore last year.

The official said Japan and Mexico will agree on a framework for the trade pact by October, even if working-level negotiations are delayed.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Fox agreed in an October 2002 summit that the two countries will start FTA negotiations with an eye to concluding the talks within a year of their start.

On prospects for FTAs with other countries, the official said Japan is likely to sign accords with South Korea and Thailand next, and then seek agreements with Malaysia and the Philippines.

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