Japan and Mongolia sign free trade agreement

After three years of negotiations, Japan and Mongolia have signed a free trade agreement, paving the way for the trade pact to take effect later this year or early in 2016.
The FTA, officially called the Japan-Mongolia Economic Partnership Agreement, was signed in Tokyo Tuesday by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Mongolian counterpart, Chimed Saikhanbileg.
Under the agreement, the two Asian countries will eliminate import tariffs within 10 years on most products traded between them.
“It is expected that this agreement will promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment between the two countries and will further vitalize both economies by strengthening reciprocal economic ties in wide-ranging fields,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, Japan is the fifth-largest source of Mongolian imports, after China, Russia, the United States and South Korea. China is also Mongolia’s biggest export market, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany.
Japan exported US$501 million worth of products to Mongolia and imported US$5.60 million worth of goods from Mongolia in 2012, the latest year for which figures were available immediately, according to the government-affiliated Japan External Trade Organization.
Japan’s main export items include autos and construction and mining machinery, while its main imports include textile products and mineral resources such as coal.
Mongolia is expected to become Japan’s 15th FTA partner, while Japan would be Mongolia’s first FTA partner.
Japan, now the world’s third-biggest economy after the U.S. and China, currently has FTAs in force with 13 countries and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Contact Hisane Masaki at yiu45535@nifty.com.
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