President Vicente Fox of Mexico and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan will sign a free trade agreement Friday that Mexico hopes will attract more investment from Japanese manufacturers and spur exports across the Pacific.
Mexico’s tequila industry is expecting a sudden surge in shipments to Japan when the tariff of 25.2 yen per liter is completely removed under a Mexico-Japan free-trade pact that takes effect April 1.
Japan and Mexico have completed final details of their bilateral free trade agreement, paving the way for its implementation as early as next April, a senior Japanese government official said.
The failure of bilateral trade talks between Mexico and Japan on October 16 has shocked both sides, particularly Japan. The talks foundered on the question of what to do about Japan’s farmers, among the most highly subsidized in the world and the power base of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
On March 12 Japan and Mexico reached virtual accord on the conclusion of a bilateral free-trade agreement following 16 months of negotiations.
Japan and Mexico have reached a basic accord on free trade. Japan promises to increase imports of pork, oranges and other agricultural products from Mexico, while that country says it will import more steel, automobiles and other industrial products from Japan.