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June 24, 2008

Japananese Diet approves economic agreement with Asean
Singapore, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean),
on Monday welcomed Japan's ratification of the ASEAN-Japan economic agreement, which was approved by the Japanese Diet on Saturday.

Under the deal, about 90 percent of trade between the two sides will be tariff-free within 10 years.

"This is welcome news. It signals Japan's strong commitment to Asean," a spokesman of Singapore's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

He added that the agreement "will boost two-way trade between ASEAN and Japan, and provide strong impetus for economic growth and prosperity in both regions."

Japan is among the bloc's top three trading and investment partners, with a total trade volume of $162 billion as of 2006, according to the ministry.

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