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ASEAN SecGen urges early entry into force of ASEAN-Japan Trade and Economic Pact

Philippine Information Agency Press Release

ASEAN SecGen urges early entry into force of ASEAN-Japan Trade and Economic Pact

Jakarta (27 June) — 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.

"This only reaffirms Japan’s commitment to having the AJCEP Agreement enter into force by this year," Dr. Surin said in his statement. The Secretary-General of ASEAN expressed hope that the Japanese ratification of the AJCEP Agreement would provide the momentum for the rest of the Parties in ASEAN to do the same.

The AJCEP Agreement is a free trade accord that hopes to establish the ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Area within 10 years. While it is ASEAN’s third free trade agreement with a Dialogue Partner, following China and Korea, it is ASEAN’s first comprehensive free trade agreement with a developed trading partner. Dr. Surin mentioned that Japan’s early ratification is a "manifestation of Japan’s keen interest to strengthen trade and economic ties and to contribute to ASEAN and East Asia community building efforts."

The free trade agreement eliminates duties on more than 85% of products traded between ASEAN and Japan upon entry into force of the Agreement. Japanese firms and ASEAN supporting industries stand to gain most from this Agreement primarily because of the cumulative rules of origin.

The AJCEP Agreement was signed in April 2008 following almost five years of intensive negotiations. Aside from this Agreement, Japan also has bilateral economic partnership agreements with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and is about to conclude a similar agreement with Viet Nam.

 source: PIA