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ASEAN to have free trade pact with Japan news
28 August 2007

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has decided on having a free trade pact with Japan. Though Japan is a key ASEAN partner, accounting for 12 per cent of the bloc''s world trade in 2006, it does not have a free trade pact with the South East Asian trading blocc.

The two signed a preliminary agreement during an annual meeting between ASEAN and Japan in Manila that could lead to a pact being formalised in November.

Following the deal, Akira Amari, Japan''s trade minister, said that the two sides had agreed to finalise their lists for regional exchange of concessions for trade in goods and said that the deal would be a step towards furthering economic integration in the East Asian region.

Once the deal materialises, 90 per cent of tariffs on ASEAN products could be cut and boost the 2006 trade volumes from $160 billion.

The ASEAN is keen to convert the entire region in to a free trade zone. On Friday, 24 August, ASEAN members signed a free-trade blueprint for the area to be advanced by five years to 2015 or even earlier if possible.

A free trade deal with South Korea is expected in 2008, and the ASEAn could sign further deals with Australia and New Zealand in 2010.

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ASEAN to have free trade pact with Japan