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Peru aims to ratify a free-trade pact with Japan as early as mid-2010 if negotiations go smoothly, Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said Wednesday.

“Both countries have a strong political will toward the conclusion (of an FTA), so I do not see any significant obstacle in our negotiations,” Belaunde said in an interview in Tokyo during his five-day visit to Japan through Friday.

The Peruvian foreign minister and his counterpart, Hirofumi Nakasone, agreed Tuesday to launch preliminary talks on an economic partnership agreement in late March.

The countries will likely hold only a single round of preliminary talks before entering full-scale talks, which may end by yearend, Belaunde suggested.

He also expressed hope top-level talks will be held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore in November.

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