Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Mexico & Japan Begin Preliminary Talks on Trade Accord

Magazine article SourceMex Economic News & Analysis on Mexico

Mexico & Japan Begin Preliminary Talks on Trade Accord

Article excerpt

Trade Secretary Blanco has begun preliminary and informal discussions with Japanese officials about possibly negotiating a Mexico-Japan free-trade agreement. Blanco discussed the accord with his counterparts from the Japanese government's External Trade Organization (JETRO) during a trip to Tokyo in early April.

A recent JETRO study supported the idea of a free-trade agreement, which could expand Mexican-Japanese trade by about 30%. The study showed exports of some Japanese products--such as precision instruments, watches, and photographic equipment- -could increase significantly with a bilateral accord.

"[Our] report has already been submitted to the Japanese Trade Ministry and I do hope that negotiations between the governments will start at the appropriate time," said JETRO President Noboru Hatakeya.

JETRO said Japanese corporate giants like Toyota, Nissan, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Sony, and others very much favor negotiating an agreement with Mexico so they can compete more favorably in the Mexican market with companies from the US, Canada, and the European Union (EU).

The Mexican government is selling the possible Japanese- Mexican accord as an opportunity for Japanese companies to consolidate their positions in the North American and EU markets, especially with the pending implementation of a Mexico-EU accord. "Given that the tariffs on the industrial products that we export to Europe will be zero by January, 2003, they should consider Mexico not only as a place to invest and export to the US but a place to invest and export to Europe," Blanco told Reuters. …

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