In October 2003, the governments of Japan and of the 10-country Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed a general framework for a bilateral free trade agreement. In November 2004, they agreed to initiate the negotiating process. The talks started in April 2005 and ended in November 2007, and the agreement came into force on 1 December 2008.

For the Japanese government, this FTA was an important target as it tries to achieve a stronger position in Asia vis-à-vis China, Korea and United States. The finalisation of the US-Korea FTA talks in April 2007 jolted Tokyo into higher gear to get this deal completed.

The Japan-ASEAN FTA (officially a Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is a comprehensive one, covering trade in goods, services, investments, rules of origin, dispute settlement, sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations, technical barriers to trade, economic cooperation and, on Japan’s request, intellectual property rights. For groups in Southeast Asia, it is seen as formalising ASEAN’s role as a regional manufacturing hub for Japanese corporations. It is now easier and cheaper for Japanese firms to move components (of automobiles, electronics, etc) from one ASEAN country to another, in a regional assembly line.

last update: May 2012


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  • 23-Aug-2015 Bernama ASEAN wants AJCEP to be signed soon
    ASEAN hopes to conclude and sign the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) soon
  • 28-Dec-2011 20 Minutes Le Japon propose un accord à la Birmanie
    Le Japon a promis lundi d’engager des négociations sur un accord bilatéral d’investissement avec la Birmanie, qui cherche à desserrer son isolement international en échange de réformes démocratiques.
  • 18-Dec-2011 Japan to fund ASEAN’s economic cooperation initiatives
    Japan has agreed to begin funding economic cooperation initiatives with the ASEAN early next year as both parties finalized guidelines of project selection and management, a local trade official said on Friday.
  • 23-Aug-2010 Mainichi ASEAN, Japan aim to strike deal on services, investment next year
    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan aim to strike a deal on liberalization of trade in services, and investment next year for incorporation into their two-year-old free trade deal, according to the draft of a joint statement for next week’s meeting of their economic ministers in Vietnam.
  • 22-Oct-2008 ASEAN-Japanese FTA to take effect Dec. 1
    A comprehensive free-trade agreement between Japan and the 10-member ASEAN will enter into force Dec. 1, beginning with Japan and countries that have completed domestic ratification procedures by the end of this month, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
  • 6-Oct-2008 Bangkok Post Trade pact could lead to waste dumps
    The Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) agreement, which goes before Thai parliament today, will make Thailand a waste-dumping site for Japan, critics warn.
  • 28-Aug-2008 MCOT ASEAN pledges to ratify FTA with Japan soon
    Economic ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, meeting in Hanoi, have pledged to work for the speedy ratification of an economic partnership agreement with Japan that is expected to take effect before the end of this year. A Philippine official says the pact will come into force on 1 October.
  • 27-Jun-2008 PIA ASEAN SecGen urges early entry into force of ASEAN-Japan Trade and Economic Pact
    The Secretary-General of ASEAN Dr. Surin Pitsuwan welcomed the ratification of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Agreement by the Japanese Diet on June 21.
  • 21-Jun-2008 Radio Australia Japan’s Parliament approves free trade with ASEAN
    Japan’s Parliament, the Diet has endorsed a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The agreement will come into force on the first day of the second month after Japan and at least one of the 10 ASEAN member complete domestic procedures, such as parliamentary endorsement.
  • 10-Jun-2008 Hemscot Japan vows to ratify free trade accord with ASEAN
    Japan’s government vowed Tuesday to ratify a free-trade accord with ASEAN by extending a parliament session hampered by feuding with the opposition.
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  • Japan-ASEAN FTA
    Official webpage on the Japan-ASEAN FTA maintained by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs