Vietnam News Agency | 2 November 2006
Japan to prioritize FTA negotiations with ASEAN
Japanese cabinet ministers agreed on Thursday to accelerate negotiations on bilateral free trade agreements (FTA), placing top priority on FTA talks with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
At the ministerial meeting, Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Toshikatsu Matsuoka said that Japan should shift from a defensive position to a more aggressive stance in free trade negotiations regarding agricultural products.
Japan has so far signed an FTA with the Philippines and outlined an agreement with Chile in September, according to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki.
He added that Japan has also agreed with Vietnam to start FTA negotiations next January and is aiming to begin talks soon with India.
The ministers also agreed to speed up an ongoing joint study by the Japanese and Australian governments on a bilateral FTA, according to Japan’s Kyodo News.