• Kyodo

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Japan and Mexico reaffirmed here Tuesday that they will work to resolve remaining issues and conclude a bilateral free-trade agreement in October as scheduled, a Japanese official said.

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Takeo Hiranuma met with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez on the sidelines of an informal World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Montreal.

Japan and Mexico are seeking a deal on the proposed FTA in October, when Mexican President Vicente Fox will visit Tokyo.

One of the remaining issues is how to handle bilateral farm trade. Mexico is seeking substantial cuts in import tariffs for farm products, particularly pork.

The Montreal meeting, bringing together ministers from 25 WTO members, including Japan, Mexico, the European Union and the United States, is intended to pave the way for breakthroughs at a full five-day WTO ministerial meeting beginning Sept. 10 in the Mexican beach resort town of Cancun.

Derbez, who will chair the Cancun meeting, asked Japan to cooperate so that the WTO meeting can be successfully concluded, the official said.