The Philippine government has voted to approve the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) -- the first bilateral free trade pact for the Philippines.
Under the JPEPA, tariffs on 95 percent of Philippine exports to Japan will be eliminated while import duties on industrial goods such as electronics and cars will be phased out within a ten-year period.
Supporters of the JPEPA argued that without such a deal, the Philippines would lose out to neighbors like Thailand and Indonesia, which already have their own free trade deals with Japan.
In the meantime, Japan is close to concluding a separate free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC economic bloc is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
(Source: UPS Trade News [Trade_News@ups-scs.service.com] on Oct. 09, 2008)