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Japan-Singapore FTA to take effect Nov. 30.

SINGAPORE, Oct. 31 Kyodo

A free trade agreement (FTA) between Japan and Singapore will take effect Nov. 30 after the parliaments of the two nations ratified it, Japanese and Singapore officials said Thursday.

With the completion of the ratification processes, Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Kunihiko Makita and Singapore Foreign Minister S. Jayakumar exchanged diplomatic notes on the bilateral arrangement here the same day.

The FTA was signed between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in January and will not only reduce tariffs on trade in goods and services but also spur cooperation in the information technology and financial sectors.

The undertaking will eliminate tariffs on 94% of Singapore's exports to Japan, up from the current level of 84%. Singapore, for its part, will scrap all its remaining tariffs on goods imported from Japan, namely on four types of alcoholic beverage.

Japan was Singapore's fourth-largest export market and its largest source of imports in 2000, with imports of S$40 billion (about $22.9 billion) and exports of S$17.9 billion, according to the Singapore government.

It is the first-ever FTA for Japan, which is currently considering similar arrangements with Mexico, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. Singapore has an FTA with New Zealand and is negotiating for ones with the United States, Australia and Canada.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9SING
Date:Nov 4, 2002
Words:222
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