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Japan, Australia said to clinch trade deal as US-Tokyo talks heat up

Published on Apr 7, 2014 4:40 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and Australia clinched a basic trade deal to cut import tariffs, the Australian media reported, as United States and Japanese officials stepped up efforts to reach a parallel agreement that would re-energise stalled talks on a broader regional pact.

The agreement between Tokyo and Canberra comes as the US and Japan push for their own two-way trade deal - a key component of a broader US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, before a visit later this month by President Barack Obama.

"After seven long years of negotiation this historic agreement has been concluded," Australian media quoted Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb as saying in Tokyo.

Monday's bilateral deal, which is expected to be formally announced after a summit later in the day between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, features cuts to Tokyo's tariffs on Australian beef and an end to Canberra's duty on cars, major newspapers reported earlier.

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