Japan and Chile began two days of official negotiations in Tokyo on Feb. 23 on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), aimed at striking a deal by the end of the year, Japanese government officials said.
The two countries agreed last November to launch formal FTA talks after they conducted a joint study for nearly one year on the feasibility of an FTA accord.
Chile has FTAs with 36 economies, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, China and the Republic of Korea.
In 2004, Chile exported 3.7 billion USD worth of goods, mainly copper ore, salmon, trout and pork, to Japan. Its imports from Japan, mostly automobiles and other manufactured goods, were 800 million USD.
Seiichi Kondo, ambassador in charge of economic and trade negotiations, leads the Japanese delegation, while his Chilean counterpart is Carlos Furche, vice-minister of foreign affairs.
'Japan's chief interest in the FTA with Chile lies in a reduction of tariffs for exports of cars and heavy machinery to Chile,' said an official of the foreign ministry.
'Chile is demanding that Japan lower its tariffs on copper ore and fishery products,' added the official, who declined to be named.