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Japan, Mongolia to reach broad agreement on trade pact

TOKYO -- The Japanese and Mongolian governments are expected to agree on the rough outline of an economic partnership agreement when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj meet Tuesday.

     The two sides likely reached a consensus regarding taxes on used cars exported from Japan to Mongolia, among other issues. Each country is expected to eliminate more than 90% of existing tariffs on the other's goods.

     Negotiations began back in June 2012. The Mongolian delegation arrived in Japan on Friday to continue the talks. Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Kihara met Monday with Mongolia's Ochirbat Chuluunbat, deputy minister for economic development.

     This would mark Japan's 15th economic partnership agreement, coming on the heels of a pact with Australia signed July 8. Japanese exports to Mongolia, comprising used vehicles and other goods, amounted to some 29.3 billion yen ($286 million) in 2013. While Mongolia's gross domestic product ranks only 130th in the world at $11.5 billion, the country is rich in copper, rare-earth metals, and other resources that many Japanese companies are interested in developing.

     For Mongolia, the deal would be its first economic partnership agreement. The landlocked nation aims to reduce its economic dependence on neighboring China and Russia by strengthening ties with Japan.



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