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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
Photo: Government of India - licensed under the Government Open Data License - India (GODL)

Japan, ASEAN reach FTA, but rice excluded
Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reached a free trade agreement Saturday, under which Tokyo will immediately repeal tariffs on 90% of imports from ASEAN by value to catch up with China and South Korea in intensifying regional FTA races.
ASEAN and Japan near agreement on free trade
The draft on trade in goods has been completed and they will now discuss the agreement on services and investment.
Japan aims to ink free trade deal with ASEAN in November: Abe
Abe expects Japan and the 10-nation bloc to wrap up their negotiations during the Japan-ASEAN economic ministers’ meeting Saturday in the Philippines, paving the way for a signing by their leaders at a November summit. The FTA is expected to take effect sometime next year following approval by the parliaments of Japan and ASEAN member states.
Agreement on ’Trade in Goods’ in the proposed ASEAN-Japan economic pact to be finalized November
On the contentious issue of transboundary movement of toxic waste, which inclusion in the JPEPA had caused an uproar locally, Philippine Trade Secretary Peter B Favila said it is likely that the same provision would be carried in the Japan-ASEAN trade deal.
Japan to iron out bilateral issues with CLMV, sign AJCEP this year
Asean is waiting for Japan to iron out its bilateral issues with the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) before proceeding to sign the Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) this November at the Asean Summit in Singapore.
ASEAN aims to ink free trade pact with Japan in November
Southeast Asian countries aim to sign a free trade pact with Japan in November, and will try to remove obstacles in the negotiations at a ministerial meeting in Brunei this week, an official said Thursday.
FTA to top Asean talks at retreat with Japan and EU
After signing a free trade agreement with South Korea, negotiations are underway at the 13th Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) Retreat, for Japan to be next on the list to sign the deal with the South East Asian Nations grouping.
Japan, ASEAN get ready to finalize free-trade deal
Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are likely to wrap up negotiations in early May for the liberalization of trade in goods, paving the way for Tokyo’s first free-trade deal with a regional bloc, government sources said Wednesday.
Japan, ASEAN to miss end-March target for free trade deal
Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will not be able to wrap up their negotiations for an economic partnership agreement by the end of next month and now hope to strike a deal by June or July.
Asean-Japan talks on shaky ground
Negotiations for the free-trade agreement (FTA) between Southeast Asian countries and Japan may fail as Japan is planning to request that over 500 products be excluded from the deal.


  • Japan-ASEAN FTA
    Official webpage on the Japan-ASEAN FTA maintained by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs