Japan and Indonesia will sign a bilateral free trade agreement on Aug. 20 during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Southeast Asian country, the government said Friday.
Cabinet ministers endorsed the signing of the FTA by Abe and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when the two hold summit talks in Jakarta.
Indonesia will be the premier's first destination in his three-nation Asian tour that will also take him to India and Malaysia.
The pact will eliminate tariffs on about 92 percent of bilateral trade by value and will mean that Japan has ratified or signed FTAs with six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia.
The accord features an energy security partnership between the two countries and the immediate removal of Indonesian tariffs on Japanese steel products for use in sectors such as auto production and energy.
The two countries will aim to have the pact come into effect early next year, a Japanese government official told Kyodo.
Under the agreement, about 96 percent of Japanese exports to Indonesia will effectively become tariff-free, while about 93 percent of Indonesian exports to Japan in value terms will be exempt from duties.
Japan will immediately remove tariffs on Indonesian forest products and shrimp, and will expand imports from the country of tropical fruit such as bananas and pineapples.
Tokyo will also allow Indonesian nurses and nursing-care specialists to work in Japan provided they meet Japanese qualification standards.
Indonesia is Japan's 11th largest trading partner and the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas to the country.
Antara.com, August 10, 2007