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3.23

Ladies and Gentlemen...
Good afternoon. I welcome the opportunity to participate in today's
symposium.

My intention today is to outline for you the key themes on regional
economic integration that Australia has been focusing on this year in the
APEC context. At the outset, I would note that Australia has been working
very closely with Japan on this and other APEC issues during Japan's host
year. In other words we are deploying our close bilateral relationship
with Japan to help drive APEC forward. Before I get into the detail on
APEC and regional economic integration however, I would like to first take
the opportunity to make a few general comments about the broader Australia-
Japan bilateral relationship.

The Australia-Japan relationship is a strategic friendship between like-
minded countries. It is also a very close relationship. Since late 2007,
when the Labor government took office in Australia, there have been in the
order of thirty Cabinet Minister level visits between Australia and Japan.

Ours is also a comprehensive relationship. It is based on shared values
and beneficial mutual interests, and this is often found reflected in a
strong commitment by both countries to bilateral cooperation on a range of
bilateral, regional and global issues.

The Australia-Japan relationship has expanded significantly over recent
years, moving beyond the traditional focus on trade and economic issues,
to encompass also a strengthened strategic and security relationship.
Under the framework of the Australia-Japan Joint Declaration on Security
Cooperation, signed by our prime ministers in 2007, Australia and Japan
have been working to expand cooperation across in areas such as counter-
terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping,
maritime security, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and joint
defence exercises and training.

In May this year, Australia and Japan signed an Acquisition and Cross-
Servicing Agreement that will make it easier for on-the-ground cooperation
between the Japan Self Defence forces and the Australian Defence forces on
such activities as disaster relief. Australia is only the second country,
after the United States, to sign this type of virtually treaty-level
agreement with Japan. Australia and Japan are also negotiating an
Information Sharing Agreement, which will be essential to deepening our
security cooperation further. Australia and Japan are also working with
the United States, with which both our countries have alliances, to
enhance trilateral cooperation on regional and global security issues.

It is in Australia and Japan's best interests to continue working together
in these ways. Our cooperation in support of regional security helps
create the stable conditions that underpin and are essential for the free
and open trade and investment and further economic integration in the Asia-
Pacific that we are both seeking.

26 2011年02月20日 14:12 バネッサ・Kuno Trade and economic relations
continue to be crucially important to both countries and it is for this
reason that the Australian and Japanese governments committed to renewing
the bilateral trade and economic framework, namely through a free trade
agreement, which we started negotiating in 2007.

It's no secret that agriculture has been the most difficult part of our
bilateral FTA negotiations. Australia cannot accept an FTA that simply
excludes agriculture, but both governments remain committed to
constructively addressing this issue. Australia is looking to Japan to
respond to the flexibility that we have already shown in the negotiations
and I should stress that Australia fully recognises that trade
liberalisation under an FTA will need a phase-in period for implementation
in some cases, to support Japan's own efforts to improve efficiency in the
domestic agriculture sector.

Japan's view of a bilateral FTA with Australia as "a strategic FTA" is
entirely accurate. Australia is Japan's most important supplier of energy
resources, a key supplier of minerals, and also one of Japan's top three
suppliers of imported food. This means Japan's imports from Australia
support Japanese business, Japanese homes and Japanese people, every day
of the year, in many different ways. Closer economic integration of our
two economies through an FTA will be immensely beneficial for both
countries.

More broadly, Australia and Japan are both important trading nations and
both committed to advancing the rules-based international trade framework.
Australia and Japan share the view that trade is a stimulus to growth, it
helps create jobs and lifts incomes. Trade also provides consumers with a
greater choice of products at competitive prices.

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