Japan and Canada on Sunday agreed to formally launch talks on a bilateral free-trade agreement and boost energy cooperation.
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the launch of FTA talks is "a truly historic step that will help create jobs and growth for both countries."
Canada will be the first member of the Group of Eight major economies to engage in FTA talks with Japan.
Earlier this month Japan and Canada, which has abundant natural resources, concluded a joint study on the feasibility of a free-trade accord, saying that their economies are largely complementary and that much potential remains to be tapped.
Japan has become much more active than it used to be about removing trade barriers with Canada, especially with Tokyo struggling to secure new energy supplies in the aftermath of the devastating March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
With an FTA, the study estimated that the gains in gross domestic product would range from $4.4 billion to $4.9 billion for Japan, and from $3.8 billion to $9 billion for Canada.
Japan exports mostly cars, machinery and other industrial products to Canada, while Canada mainly sells Japan natural resources and farm products, such as soybeans and pork.
Sunday, March 25, 2012/ Japan Times.