Brunei Direct | 5 May 2007
Economic Partnership Agreement Marks New Chapter For Brunei, Japan
By Za’im Zaini
Bandar Seri Begawan - "We have agreed on a specific chapter for energy. It is important, and cooperation is needed between Brunei and Japan. We expect that this chapter will also make Brunei a better destination for investments, and we will also be seeking better energy supplies."
This was stated by Keita Nishiyama, the Director of Asia and Pacific Division at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, during a press briefing yesterday, after the Asean Economic Ministers had an informal consultation in The Empire Hotel. and Country Club’s West Ballroom.
The director was referring to the Brunei Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. As the EPA itself is yet to be signed, he could not reveal its details, but gave a lot of viewpoints. The EPA’s general feature would cover some substantial liberalisation of old trade between Japan and Brunei, as well as certain level of trade liberalisation for their investments and services.
On the consultation, which was chaired by Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz, Mr Nishiyama commented, "The outcome of today’s discussion was that the ministers confirmed the conversions in many areas of trade and goods negotiations."
The ministers have also confirmed an annual gathering for the Asean-Japan Summit in November this year, when such plans would hopefully be finalised. "The ministers have also agreed to conclude the negotiations by the next Economic Ministers Meeting in August in the Philippines," he added.
Some studies on a proposal for Japan to have a comprehensive economic partnership in East Asia are also needed. As far as investment services are concerned, almost all member countries have been covered, albeit in bilateral ways.— Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin