Japan and Mexico reached terms on which to revise their free trade agreement to further liberalize bilateral trade.
After about two and a half years of marathon talks, the countries announced the agreement in Mexico on Monday after a meeting co-chaired by Ikuo Yamahana, Japan's parliamentary vice foreign minister, and Beatriz Leycegui Gardoqui, Mexico's vice minister for foreign trade.
"The vice ministers recognized that market access improvements will give important benefits for both countries, opening new opportunities for the exporters," declared a joint press statement issued after the meeting.
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The Japanese and Mexican governments will seek to secure early approval of the revised FTA from their respective parliaments, Japanese government officials said.
The original Japan-Mexico FTA took effect in April 2005. Since September 2008, the two countries have held talks to review the trade pact.
Under the revised bilateral FTA, Japan will expand low-tariff import quotas for such agricultural items as beef, pork, chicken and oranges. Japan will specifically increase its low-tariff import quotas for beef to 15,000 tons from 6,000 tons and for pork to 90,000 tons from 80,000 tons, the Japanese government officials said.
Mexico will abolish import tariffs on auto parts and paper for ink-jet printers earlier than the initially scheduled 2014, possibly by 2013, the officials said.
The joint press statement said that the vice ministers "confirmed that bilateral trade and investment have substantially increased in volume since the entry (into force of the FTA)."
According to the government-affiliated Japan External Trade Organization, Japan exported $6.833 billion worth of products to Mexico and imported $2.795 billion worth of goods from the Latin American country in 2009, for a trade surplus of $4.038 billion.
Japan has so far signed FTAs with 11 countries and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
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