Abe in Canberra to sign free trade pact, address Parliament

By Latika Bourke

Japan‘s prime minister Shinzo Abe has addressed Australia‘s Parliament in English, in what senior Japanese officials described as a statement of “friendship and regard”.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb says there is a natural relationship between economic and military agreements because Australia is “so strongly and deeply economically tied” to China, Japan and Korea.

“This is the first free trade agreement that Japan has made with a major developed economy,” Mr Abbott said.

A free trade deal may have been the headline news, but when Japanese PM Shinzo Abe tours Canberra it will be security that tops his agenda, writes Hitoshi Nasu.

The Opposition’s spokeswoman on trade, Penny Wong, has criticised the Government for not releasing details of the free trade agreement, which was struck in April, in full.

“We as a nation are not going to make cars any more here in this country, but the way we are going to make a car in the future is we’re going to grow wheat, we’re going to grow cotton, we’re going to grow beef, we’re going to put it on a boat, wave goodbye to it and then magically another boat will come in the other direction with a car on it, probably from Japan,” he said.

Mr Abe has told Parliament that Australia and Japan will also conclude an agreement on the transfer of defence equipment and technology.

Read more here: ABC


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