Uruguay's President Tabaré Vázquez met Sunday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Montevideo. During the encounter, both leaders signed an agreement which opened Japan's market to beef exports from the South American country after 20 years.
It took nine years of diplomatic dialogue and technical visits to reach this accord, it was announced. Now, the next step is for dairy, wine and software products to follow suit, in Vázquez's words at the presidential residence of Suárez y Reyes.
Abe's visit was the first by a Japanese head of government.
As far as meat is concerned, the qualified Japanese market had been closed for Uruguay in 2000 as a result of the appearance of foot-and-mouth disease, however, from the steps we started in 2009, nine years ago, and after several technical missions from both countries, including the official mission of November 2015 together with important businessmen, the Japanese market opens again, Vázquez said.
He also stressed that Uruguay can and wants to further deepen commercial exchange. Both governments agreed to invigorate the bilateral investment protection treaty.
Above the geographic distance that separates us, the specificity of each country, Japan and Uruguay have an important way to go and auspicious objectives to achieve, said the Uruguayan president.
For his part, the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, stressed the quality of Uruguay's strategic partner for his country, two nations that share the same principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
He recognized the levels of economic growth with social development achieved by Uruguay, highlighted at continental level.
Abe also underlined that the Japanese government wants to actively help trade missions, diplomatic dialogue, technical assistance and binational cooperation.
He further highlighted the two countries' relations in sports and higher education, which he pledged to promote, and praised Uruguay's stance in favour of the United Nations resolutions that call for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
I would like to continue working hand in hand with the president of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, to strengthen the bilateral relationship in all areas, Abe said.
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