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Japan, Australia reach free-trade agreement: Statement

Published on Apr 7, 2014 5:56 PM
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe shake hands prior to a National Security Council meeting at Mr Abe's official residence in Tokyo April 7, 2014. Japan and Australia said on Monday, April 7, 2014, that they have reached a long-awaited free-trade deal after negotiators hammered out a "substantive agreement". --PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan and Australia on Monday said they had reached “substantive agreement” on a long-awaited free-trade deal, in a rare opening of Japan’s protected markets, even as talks to ink a huge Asia-Pacific agreement run into trouble.

The deal was announced as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott held a briefing in Tokyo Monday evening.

It “will create significant new trade and investment opportunities for the two countries", a press statement said, adding that a final deal would be signed “as early as possible”.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Abbott said the deal marked “truly an historic occasion for both of our countries", with the pair also agreeing to boost cooperation in security, including joint development of defence equipment.

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