Agence France-Presse | 01 Aug 2007
Chilean legislature approves free trade agreement with Japan
The Chilean legislature late Tuesday approved a free trade agreement with Japan that will likely be signed into law when President Michelle Bachelet’s visits Tokyo in September.
The Chilean Senate approved the trade deal, which Japan and Chile agree to in late March, with only one abstention. The measure earlier cleared the Chamber of Deputies.
Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley said that Bachelet would likely sign the agreement during her visit to Japan in September.
According to the Chilean Central Bank’s 2006 trade figures, exports to Japan — chiefly copper — reached six billion dollars, while imports stood at 1.06 billion.
The deal is Tokyo’s first such pact with a South American nation, and will eliminate tariffs on more than 90 percent of trade.
Under the deal, Santiago will immediately lift its six percent tariff on Japanese cars and also lift duties on machinery, electronic equipment and products such as Japanese green tea and sake rice liquor.
Tokyo in turn will gradually eliminate its three percent tariff on Chilean copper, its 3.5 percent tariff on Chilean salmon and its 17.6 percent tax on Chilean wine.
The deal does not extend to sensitive Japanese farm produce such as rice, which Tokyo strongly protects.