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Japan, Chile, Agree on Framework Free Trade Agreement


Japan and Chile have agreed on the framework of a free trade pact after seven months of negotiations.

Japanese officials say the two countries approved the basic agreement during talks in Tokyo earlier this month. The free trade accord, once finalized, will abolish tariffs for 92 percent of trade between the two countries.

Among Japanese exports to Chile are vehicles and machinery. Chile is Japan's main supplier of copper, and also exports salmon and wine to Japan. The pact is expected to take effect early next year.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said in a statement Friday that free trade with Chile will ensure a stable supply of natural resources for Japan, and further strengthen the two countries' relationship.

Japan has been pushing for more free trade agreements around the world. Tokyo has signed such pacts with several countries, including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Mexico.

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