Free Trade Agreements Japan

(1) In view of the evolution of economic globalization, it is important to maintain and strengthen the free trade system. While the World Trade Organization continues to play an important role in these efforts, free trade agreements (FTAs) offer a way to strengthen partnerships in non-WTO areas and to achieve liberalization beyond the levels achievable under the WTO. This is why free trade agreements are a very useful way to broaden the scope of Japan`s economic relations with other countries. (2) The European Union and the United States are pursuing a policy focused on both WTO negotiations and the creation of large-scale regional trade frameworks. The current round of WTO negotiations could be the last multilateral trade negotiation before the creation of these broad integrated regional frameworks. It is necessary for Japan to also look not only at the WTO negotiations, but also at the trends of the free trade agreement in strengthening its economic relations with other countries. Mr. Kotsonis said that the agreement was important not only because of the trade it would allow directly, but because it would act as a “springboard” for the CPTPP. He said Japan was ready to support the UK`s efforts to join the bloc.

(2) The political and diplomatic benefits of trade agreements strengthen Japan`s negotiating power in WTO negotiations and the outcome of free trade negotiations could influence and accelerate WTO negotiations. Deepening economic interdependence leads to a sense of political trust between the countries that are parties to these agreements and expands Japan`s global diplomatic influence and interests. Other objectives include other objectives that are slipping into Japan`s bilateral trade agenda: in early 2005, Japan began exploring possible discussions with Switzerland and negotiations began in 2007. In 2006, spurred on by concerns about access to energy resources, Japan pledged to restart discussions for a free trade agreement with Kuwait and other oil and Gas countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Japanese companies are also increasingly concerned about international trade disadvantages, leading to free trade agreements with Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and even some pious rhetoric about a U.S.-Japan deal. At the end of 2011, Japan expressed interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with Burma. In March 2012, signs of the free trade agreement with Mongolia and Canada were announced.

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