Vietnam, Japan to start FTA negotiations
HANOI, Feb. 6 (Xinhuanet) — Vietnam and Japan will begin their first round of negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in mid-February, local media on Monday quoted sources from the Vietnamese Trade Ministry.
The two countries, during the first round, are expected to focus their negotiations on industry, service and agriculture, said the newspaper People’s Army.
They posted bilateral trade of nearly 8.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, of which more than 4.5 billion U.S. dollars came from Vietnamese exports, mainly garments, textiles, seafood, electric wires, woodwork, coal and crude oil. Key Japanese exports to Vietnam include machines and equipment.
To date, Vietnam has yet to embark on talks on a bilateral FTA with any partners. Vietnam is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has been in formal FTA negotiations with Japan since last April.
Under the Joint Declaration of the Leaders of ASEAN and Japan on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CEP) signed in 2002, the implementation of the ASEAN-Japan CEP, including elements of a possible free trade area, will be completed before or by 2012, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.