Japan to start free trade talks with Canada

Japan and Canada agreed today to formally start talks aimed at forging a free trade agreement between the two countries.

If established, the pact would be Japans first with a country from the Group of Eight major economies.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, said they would also seek to boost economic, energy and security relations between the two countries.

“This is a truly historic step that will help create jobs and growth in both countries,” Harper told a joint news conference. “The negotiations we are announcing today complement Canadas ambitious trade agenda.”

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Japan takes Canada to WTO over renewable energy rules

Japan asked the World Trade Organization on Wednesday to form a legal panel to decide whether Canadian provincial backing for solar and wind energy projects gives an unfair advantage to domestic equipment makers.

Japan has given up direct attempts to resolve a spat over an Ontario scheme that guarantees prices for renewable energy as long as it is generated with Canadian-made equipment, Japan’s ambassador to the WTO said in a letter to the chairman of the WTO’s disputes division.

"Consultations failed to resolve the dispute. As a result, Japan respectfully requests that a panel be established to examine this matter," Ambassador Yoichi Otabe wrote.

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