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Trade Ties
June 18, 2007

Japan, Brunei sign free trade agreement
Japan and Brunei here on Monday signed a free trade agreement (FTA), which was viewed as a new step in Japan's plan to secure stable energy supply.

The FTA was signed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Under the agreement, Japan and the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation will promote cooperation in broader fields such as trade investment, information and communications technology, agriculture and the environment.

The two countries will make efforts to eliminate tariffs on nearly 99.9% of bilateral trade in 10 years under the deal.

Japanese government officials said Brunei is the eighth country with which Japan has reached an FTA, following Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

This is also the first time for Japan to have provisions on energy in a bilateral FTA. Under the agreement, a government-level subcommittee on energy will be established in order to facilitate the execution of existing energy agreements.

Trade between Japan and Brunei stood at about 264 billion yen (about US$2.14 billion) in 2005. Almost all of Japan's imports from Brunei are oil and natural gas. Xinhua

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