AJCEP implementation to enhance Malaysia-Japan relations

BERNAMA | February 01, 2009

AJCEP Implementation To Enhance Malaysia-Japan Relations

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 (Bernama) — Implementation of the Asean-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) is expected enhance bilateral economic relations and industrial cooperation between Malaysia and Japan under the Malaysia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (MJEPA).

The AJCEP comes into force for Malaysia and Japan from today.

The agreement is based on the respective bilateral economic partnership agrements (EPAs) between Japan and individual Asean countries, including Malaysia, and value-adds to these bilateral EPAs.

Under the MJEPA, Japan eliminated duties on 88 percent of products for trade between Malaysia and Japan effective from Feb 1, 2009, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement today.

"Duties on a further four percent of trade products are scheduled to be eliminated within the next five to 10 years with duties on the remaining products reduced gradually over a period of 10 years," it said.

MITI said the AJCEP, however, provides immediate benefit to Malaysia as duties for selected products which were offered for progressive liberalisation under the MJEPA will be immediately eliminated.

"These include shrimps and prawns, articles of jewellery and chemical products," it said, adding that duty reduction and elimination for a further 102 products will be accelerated, including aubergines, petroleum products and all forms of poly vinyl chloride.

Since implementation of the MJEPA, Malaysian exporters have enjoyed immediate elimination of duties for tropical fruits and duty free quota for bananas, MITI said.

Market access opportunities will be further enhanced under the AJCEP as chemicals and petrochemicals, plastics, wood and agricultural and fisheries products which were previously excluded under the MJEPA have now been offered for phased reduction, it said.

"The AJCEP provides an excellent opportunity for the business community in Malaysia to further expand their bilateral trade and investment linkages with Japanese businesses," the ministry said.

Japan is one of Malaysia’s most important trading partners. Malaysia’s trade with Japan for the January-November 2008 period amounted to RM124.34 billion.

Exports to Japan amounted to RM63.45 billion and imports from Japan totalled RM60.88 billion.

In 2007, Japan was Malaysia’s third largest trading partner with a trade value of RM120.8 billion, with exports at RM55.2 billion and imports at RM65.5 billion.

Trade with Japan accounted for 10.9 percent of Malaysia’s total trade with the world in 2007.

Japan is also an important source of foreign direct investments for Malaysia.

Malaysia approved RM6.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) worth of investments from Japan in 2007 and approved Japanese investments in Malaysia last year totalled RM4.5 billion (US$1.3 billion).

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source: Bernama