• Kyodo News

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Japan and Australia will restart talks in Tokyo next week on sealing a bilateral free-trade agreement that stalled last April, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Participants in the three days of talks starting Feb. 7 will include Shinichi Nishimiya, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic issues, and Jan Adams, first assistant secretary of Australia’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Department.

The FTA talks will cover trade in goods and services, investment, government procurement, energy and mineral resources, and facilitation of the business environment, according to the ministry.

The meeting follows an accord struck last November by Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson in Canberra to restart the FTA talks.

Japan has held 11 rounds of FTA talks with the major farm exporter since April 2007. But Tokyo’s heavy protection of sensitive farm products, including dairy, beef, wheat and sugar, caused the negotiations to stall.

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