Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his eagerness Saturday to boost Japan’s economic and trade ties with the four Latin American nations comprising the Pacific Alliance, after seeking an early conclusion of a free trade agreement with Colombia.
“Let’s strengthen economic relations between Japan and Latin America further,” Abe said in a speech in Sao Paulo, emphasizing Japan’s FTA with Colombia would complete its trade network with all countries participating in the Pacific Alliance.
The alliance — an economic cooperation forum among Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru — was launched in June 2012. Japan has observer status with the group, which it sees as having potential as a supplier of natural resources and foodstuffs.
Tokyo already has FTAs in place with Chile, Mexico and Peru. Japan and Colombia began FTA talks in December 2012, but have failed to narrow their differences over removing or reducing tariffs.
Abe, meanwhile, pledged in the speech to make every effort to steadily implement measures listed in his government’s economic growth strategy revised in June, centering on deregulation in the nation’s traditionally protected sectors.
“We have continued fearlessly to reform the agricultural, healthcare and energy industries,” Abe said.