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FTA with Switzerland & Vietnam effective from next year
Sep '08
Of late, Japan has accelerated efforts to sign bilateral accords, especially with other Asian countries. Japan launched negotiations with Vietnam in January 2007 and with Switzerland in May 2007.

After year-long negotiations, Japan has found common ground on most issues on liberalizing trade with the two nations.

Once the bilateral trade deal with Vietnam comes into effect, about 92 percent of trade in value will be duty free in 10 years. Moreover, with Switzerland, tariffs on about 99 percent of the total value of bilateral trade will be completely eliminated in the next 10 years.

Both the agreements are anticipated to come into effect as early as next year. As a matter of fact, Switzerland would be the first industrialized country to conclude free trade agreement with Japan which has so far signed the so-called economic partnership with nine economies including Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Chile.

While entering into an agreement, Japan has mainly called on the other two countries to scrap or cut import tariffs on industrial goods. In 2007, the value of bilateral trade with Vietnam reached US $6.12 billion, up 17.4 percent over the previous year.

On the other hand, exports from Japan to Switzerland amounted to ¥355 billion in 2007, while Swiss exports to Japan stood at about ¥613 billion.

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