Japan and Singapore will hold a second round of negotiations on a bilateral free-trade agreement for four days starting Tuesday in Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
The two sides are expected to discuss measures to liberalize bilateral trade and to reinforce economic cooperation with a view to concluding the Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership by the end of the year, the ministry said. It would be the first free-trade agreement for Japan.
Japan’s team will be led by Kazuo Asakai, special envoy of the government, and the Singapore delegation by Lim Chin Beng, chairman of Singapore Technologies Aerospace and former ambassador to Japan.
At the previous meeting held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in Singapore, the two countries agreed to resolve key points of the agreement by the end of July, when the third round of talks is scheduled.
Singapore, disenchanted with the pace of trade talks under the World Trade Organization, has been aggressively seeking bilateral agreements with several countries, including the United States.
The idea for a free-trade pact with Japan was first proposed by Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during a meeting with then Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. They agreed in December 1999 to establish a feasibility study group, which completed its discussions in September.
The following month, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and Goh jointly announced that the two countries would enter formal negotiations. on the trade agreement.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.