Canada, Japan to start trade talks next month

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:32pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada and Japan will launch their first full round of bilateral trade negotiations next month, Trade Minister Ed Fast said on Monday, the latest in a series of bilateral talks Canada has begun with trade partners with multilateral efforts stalled.

"Both sides are committed to concluding a comprehensive agreement that will unlock the full potential of our relationship and benefit workers and businesses in both countries," Fast said in a statement.

Canada is trying to conclude a free-trade deal with the European Union, is in the midst of negotiations with India and this month formally joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks aimed at creating an Asia-Pacific free trade accord.

The Conservative government has concluded six free-trade agreements since 2006, but mostly with minor players, including Jordan and Panama.

The first round with Japan will begin on November 26 in Tokyo.

A joint study found that a trade agreement between the two countries could add between $4.4 billion and $4.9 billion to Japanese gross domestic product, and between $3.8 billion and $9.0 billion to Canada's.

(Figures are in U.S. dollars)

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Davud Brunnstrom)