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Li mum on easing import limits linked to Fukushima

Jiji Press BEIJING (Jiji Press) — Visiting Japanese business leaders and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed on the need to maintain free trade at a meeting Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by Japan-China Economic Association Chairman Shoji Muneoka, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi and Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura.

They are members of a Japanese mission formed by the three business groups.

“It is important for Japan and China to cooperate in various areas and raise the banner of free trade high to promote it,” Nakanishi said at the start of the meeting.

Li replied that the two Asian countries should hold fast to free trade amid the rise of protectionism.

He expressed a wish to achieve substantial progress in negotiations by year-end on the envisioned Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade deal among 16 countries including Japan, China and India.

Muneoka, head of the mission, handed Li written proposals.

The proposals said bilateral cooperation in third countries should focus on projects deemed sustainable in light of fiscal situations of the countries.

The papers also called for Chinese support for Osaka’s bid to host the 2025 World Exposition, ahead of a decision to select the host in November this year.

Mimura asked Li to review China’s import restrictions on agricultural items and food introduced due to the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. But the Chinese premier did not reply.

The Japan-China Economic Association sends a delegation to China almost every year since 1975. The latest mission has 240 participants.Speech

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