Japan, Peru Sign Free Trade Pact

Japan, Peru Sign Free Trade Pact

Japan and Peru have a new free trade agreement to eliminate import tariffs on almost all products traded between the two countries within 10 years.

The FTA, reached after nearly two years of negotiations, is expected to take effect by the end of this year or early next year pending ratification by the parliaments of the two countries.

Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto and Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros Kuppers signed the agreement Tuesday in Tokyo.

Under the agreement, Japan will eliminate import tariffs on more than 99 percent of Peruvian products by value within 10 years, while Peru will also remove import tariffs on more than 99 percent of Japanese goods, including automobiles, over the same period.

According to the government-affiliated Japan External Trade Organization, Japan exported nearly $1.4 billion worth of products to Peru and imported $1.8 billion worth of goods from the Latin American country in 2010.

Automobiles account for more than half of Japan’s overall exports to Peru, while copper represents more than half of Peru’s overall exports to Japan.

For Japan, the FTA with Peru is the 13th such trade pact. It is also the first such trade pact Japan has signed since the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami hit the northeastern part of Japan on March 11.

Peru is one of nine countries that are negotiating with the United States on a free trade initiative called Trans-Pacific Partnership.