Chile and Japan to deepen trade agreement
The agreement will include the negotiation of products that are currently excluded from the agreement.
"Chile and Japan have made significant progress in trade, but it is important to deepen our economic relationship so we have agreed to begin a process to deepen the existing agreement in order to enhance our presence in the market," said Pablo Urria, Director of Bilateral Economic Affairs of the Commercial Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Seven years after the entry into force of the Agreement on Strategic Partnership, Chile and Japan want to extend the treaty to other products such as apples, oranges, tangerines, fresh and chilled beef, salmon, natural honey and wooden boards.
The new agreement was signed on Tuesday in Tokyo by a group of senior officials from both governments, within the framework of the meeting between the Agreement's Commission and the Committees of Goods, instances which meet regularly and that are part of that trade agreement.
The Chilean delegation was headed by Pablo Urria, director of Bilateral Economic Affairs Direcon, and by Ambassador Yasushi Takase, managing director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The agreement with Japan has granted significant preferences to Chilean exports, which have an effective tariff of 0.39 percent in that market.
Meanwhile, in 2013, imports from Japan were taxed by 0.9 percent in Chile. According to the tariff reduction schedule, currently more than 80 percent of the products are tax-free.
Urria said Chile was interested in stimulating Japanese investment in the processing sectors, to add value to national production and exports.
The authority cited the aquaculture areas, telecommunications and energy, "for which Japan has a lot to contribute."
"Currently, Japan is the fourth largest investor in our country with a total of $9.702 million dollars accumulated between 1974 and 2013," he added.
Chile and Japan are among the 12 participating countries in the negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). In addition, the Asian country is an observer member of the Pacific Alliance, a block that aims, among other things, to closely link Latin America with the Asia-Pacific region.
Trade between Chile and Japan increased by 27% in the last seven years as a result of the trade agreement. The exchange went from $7,943 million dollars in 2006 to $10,054,000 dollars in 2013, which positioned this country as Chile's fourth largest trading partner.
In this period, Chilean exports to Japan increased from $6,479 million dollars in 2006 to $7,577 million in 2013.
Exports to Japan in the first half of 2014 amounted to $3,900 million dollars, i.e. a 0.1 percent increase, so Japan continues to be the fourth destination of Chilean exports with 10 percent of the total. ■