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Australia trade deal offers Japan leverage in TPP talks: analysts

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (R) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the start of summit talks at the Akasaka State Guesthouse in Tokyo on April 7, 2014Shinzo Abe’s success in signing a free-trade deal with Australia proves Japan’s prime minister can bend the once-powerful farm sector to his will, experts say, offering leverage against US claims of intransigence in a wider pan-Pacific deal. Tokyo looks set to make the most of its triumph, which came just weeks before US President Barack Obama arrives in Japan on a state visit that had at one point been expected to crown the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Japan-Australia deal was signed Monday after Abe’s summit with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and followed seven years of sometimes torturous negotiations.

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