logo logo

Japan, Philippines aim to sign FTA in Sept.

Mainichi Daily News, Japan

Japan, Philippines aim to sign FTA in Sept.

23 August 2006

Japan and the Philippines plan to conclude their bilateral free trade agreement in September and put it into effect by the end of 2007, it was learned Wednesday.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are expected to meet and sign the agreement on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting on Sept. 10-11 in Helsinki, informed sources told Jiji Press.

It will be Japan’’s fourth FTA, after ones with Singapore, Mexico and Malaysia. For the Philippines, Japan will be its first bilateral FTA partner.

Under their FTA, Japan and the Philippines will cut import tariffs on industrial goods by 90 pct or more within 10 years after the agreement takes effect. The Philippines will immediately abolish tariffs on at least 60 pct of its steel imports from Japan and fully scrap tariffs on automobiles and auto parts by 2010.

On farm goods trade, Tokyo will expand imports of such products as chicken, pineapples and bananas, through tariff cuts and other measures. Manila will abolish tariffs on grapes and pears.

The two countries broadly agreed the bilateral FTA in late November 2004 but have not formally concluded the accord due to wording adjustments and other paperwork.

After concluding the deal with the Philippines, Japan intends to accelerate its FTA talks with Thailand, Indonesia and Chile as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Jiji Press)