AFX News Limited
Japan, SAfrica agree to study launching free trade agreement talks - report
TOKYO (AFX) - Japan and South Africa have agreed to examine the feasibility of striking a free trade agreement, Kyodo News reported, citing sources in the trade ministry here.
Agreement to set up a study group was reached during a meeting in Tokyo today between Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa and South African Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, Kyodo said.
South Africa is a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which also includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, and Kyodo said Japan will proceed with free trade agreement talks with South Africa with an eye to eventually concluding a free trade pact with the entire SACU.
Japan’s exports to South Africa totaled 2.9 bln usd in 2004, with automobiles and auto parts being major items, Kyodo said.
Japan imported 4.6 bln usd of goods from South Africa last year, with European automobiles made there and minerals such as aluminum accounting for large volumes, the report said.