logo logo

Japan to be less demanding on FTAs with Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

Mainichi, Japan

Japan to be less demanding on FTAs with Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

11 April 2006

Japan will not demand as much market opening in negotiations on free trade agreements with Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, compared with talks with the more developed members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, it was learned Monday.

Japan intends to achieve free trade with the three countries in at least 90 pct of goods in terms of volume within 10 years of the signing of the FTAs, while pursuing free trade in more than 90 pct for the remaining seven ASEAN countries, according to the government’’s new negotiating guidelines, a copy of which was obtained by Jiji Press.

Japan is obliged to make sure that its FTAs result in tariff exemption for at least 90 pct of goods by volume. Failure to meet this requirement would violate the World Trade Organization’’s nondiscrimination principle.

This rule does not apply to Asian countries such as China and South Korea, which are categorized as developing countries in the WTO system, when seeking FTAs with ASEAN states.

The government has been under pressure from industries to speed up talks on a Japan-ASEAN FTA, which were resumed Monday after a suspension from last August. The government hopes to conclude the talks by April next year. (Jiji Press)