Japan, Vietnam sign free trade pact

Agence France Presse | 25 December 2008

Japan, Vietnam sign free trade pact

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan and Vietnam signed an economic partnership pact Thursday with a promise to cut tariffs on some 92 percent of goods and services traded between the two nations within a decade.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone and Vietnam’s minister for industry and trade, Vu Huy Hoang, signed the deal which still needs final approval by the Japanese parliament.

"The agreement will strengthen the mutually beneficial economic collaboration between our two countries by facilitating freer flows of goods, services and investments," the two ministers said in a joint statement.

"We are convinced that such economic cooperation will contribute to the economic development of our two countries, promote well-being of our peoples, and expand opportunities and benefits for our business sectors," it said.

The agreement allows for freer bilateral trade than a wider trade agreement between Japan and the whole of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Vietnam, Japanese officials said.

Under the new agreement, Vietnam will get duty-free access to the Japanese market for shrimp, durian and okra, among other farm and marine products.

Japan will be able to send duty-free its auto parts, steel and electronic goods for assembly in Vietnam, particularly parts that require high skill and have to be brought from Japan, Japanese officials said.

Japan, the world’s second largest economy, has been seeking a growing number of bilateral trade deals amid the collapse of global liberalisation talks.

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source: AFP