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Next up: Japan: With negotiations on the Canada/South Korea free trade agreement concluded, federal negotiators are turning their attention to lifting barriers on the exchange of goods between Canada and Japan, which is anxious not to let Korean automakers gain an advantage in access to domestic buyers, according to CTV News. A round of talks will take place this week.

Some analysts believe Japan may now be more eager to deal with Canada, in that it competes with Korea in the auto sector and will also be looking for a way to eliminate the 6.1% duty Ottawa imposes on auto imports. The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada unexpectedly came out in favour of the Korea deal, while making the point that Japan will need equitable treatment. About one-third of Japanese vehicles sold in Canada are subject to the tariff.

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Loonie dips on interest-rate hike talk in U.S.: Canadian exporters watched with interest as the loonie last week fell below US89¢, a level not seen since the depth of the post-credit crisis recession. Analysts told the CBC that this latest backsliding has to do with comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen, who hinted that she will hike interest rates faster than previously projected.

The Fed’s previous guidance had been that the federal funds rate would remain at its current low level of 0% to 0.25% for a “considerable time” after it ended its monthly bond-buying program. The Fed has been cutting back on those purchases, a key element of stimulus that had kept long-term rates low, and on Wednesday said it would further taper purchases by another US$10 billion a month to $55 billion.

Roaming charges to go the way of the dodo in EU: For recreational travellers and road warriors alike, unexpected roaming charges have been the unhappy reveal at the end of many excursions. While some Canadian mobile providers now are offering packages that offer predictability on foreign charges, European Union legislators have taken the conversation to the next level, with legislation that proposes to ban roaming charges after 2015, reports The Guardian.

Operators will no longer be able to charge travellers to the European Union’s 28 member states extra for calls, texts and Internet use, a practice that telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes has described as a “cash cow” for the industry.

Export Wire is published every Monday on PROFITguide.com. For more tips on expanding your business internationally, visit our international trade section.

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