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Japan wants to seal FTAs with GCC — report

Kuwait News Agency

Japan wants to seal FTAs with GCC — report

5 February 2006

TOKYO, Feb 5 (KUNA) — Japan wants to open free trade agreement (FTA) talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council, China, India, Australia and South Africa, a top-selling business daily here reported Sunday.

The Japanese government will draw up a medium-term goal of concluding economic partnerships, centering on FTAs, with at least 15 countries/regions by 2010, government sources told the Nikkei Shimbun.

In selecting the candidates, the government will take into account the potential of their markets and their importance for Japan in terms of securing natural resources, such as the GCC, the daily said. Tokyo has begun to formulate a medium-term goal in which the names of candidate countries/regions will be specified, with the aim of compiling it by the end of April. It is expected to target economic partnerships with about 15 potential countries/regions, including those with which FTAs have already been clinched or are under negotiation.

Japan has already signed FTAs with Singapore and Mexico, and is expected to do the same with Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines by the end of this year. Negotiations are also under way with several nations and regions, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).