ASEAN-Japan FTA expected to be signed in May

MCOT | 24 Jan 2008

ASEAN-Japan FTA expected to be signed in May

BANGKOK, Jan 24 (TNA) — A free trade area (FTA) agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan is expected to be inked this May, a senior Thai official said Thursday.

Winichai Chaemchaeng, deputy director-general of Thailand’s Foreign Trade Negotiations Department, said a senior ASEAN economic officials meeting in the Philippines between January 19-22 had set up a timeframe as well as the model of ASEAN-Japan FTA accord before an unofficial meeting of ASEAN economic ministers takes place this May.

Mr. Winichai said he believed the formal agreement could be signed during May’s ministerial meeting.

Only a few minor details in the accord remain for consideration by each member, he said, adding that on the part of Thailand, it must be approved first by the new government and members of parliament before it is ratified.

The FTA agreement will mostly cover goods while most services and investment are already covered by each member of ASEAN and Japan.

If approved, tariffs on 90 per cent of goods imported by Japan from ASEAN will be reduced to zero while more than 70 items of Thai goods worth about US$53 million could be exported to that country, he added.

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source: MCOT