Japan and Singapore Agree to Negotiate on Regional Free Trade Agreement

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his Singapore counterpart K. Shanmugam agreed Friday to boost cooperation in negotiations for a regional free trade agreement, Japanese officials said.

During their talks in Singapore, Kishida and Shanmugam also reaffirmed the need to have respect for international law, bearing in mind China’s growing maritime activities in the South China Sea and East China Sea, the officials said.

Their meeting came at a time China is increasingly assertive in its territorial and other claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea, clashing with the interests of Japan and some Southeast Asian countries.

On the economic front, Kishida told Shanmugam that free trade is vital to Japan’s economic diplomacy and expressed his country’s eagerness to pursue high-level economic partnerships.

The minister also voiced hope the free trade accord known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will become a reality, the officials said.

The RCEP involves 16 countries — the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand — and is designed to liberalize trade in goods, services and investment in the region.

via Mainichi

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza