22 December 2006
Cheaper Japanese Goods Here
By M K Anwar
Bandar Seri Begawan — With the Brunei-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (BJEPA) likely to be fully implemented within 2007, consumers and motorists here can anticipate cheaper Japanese products.
According to Japanese News Agency, Jiji Press, under the planed EPA, Brunei will be scrapping import tariffs for Japanese automobiles and auto parts which are currently set at 20 per cent.
This cut is said to kick in within three years after the EPA takes effect. With individual car registrations until 2005 recorded at 207,272 vehicles, this is certainly good news for motorists in the country who may see a further reduction in prices of cars and spare parts.
When the final accord is reached between the two countries, the EPA will include the elimination of tariffs of most traded goods between Brunei and Japan.
Furthermore, the EPA entails the exemption of tariffs for Japanese made electronic and electrical appliances within five years of the EPA approval. It was reported that Brunei’s tariff of these products stands at 5 to 20 per cent. The EPA agreement in principle on the main elements has finally been reached after six months of full-scale discussion.
An outline towards the Economic Partnership Agreement was already agreed upon during discussion between the Brunei and Japan in February and April this year. Japanese Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Hashimoto Itsuo recently in his speech at the 73rd birthday celebration of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan noted that Japan-Brunei relations will develop further after the successful conclusion of the EPA.
Meanwhile, Japan will be scrapping tariffs on Brunei agricultural and fishery products such as mangos and shrimps. Jiji Press also said that within 10 years, both countries are expected to scrap tariffs for almost all goods traded.
The EPA also aims at enhancing economic exchanges and to harmonize regulations on investments and services which means greater opportunities for the Brunei private sector and access to the Japanese market.
Japan is one of the biggest markets for Brunei’s liquefied natural gas. Undoubtedly the EPA is said to include a clause that ensures a stable supply of natural gas for Japan. More than US$2 billion worth of gas were supplied to Japan in 2005 alone.
Besides Brunei, Japan has also agreed to conclude an EPA with Chile in September and Indonesia in November this year. — Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin