Japan and Vietnam on Friday June 2 agreed to launch official negotiations later this year, possibly in fall, aimed at concluding a free trade agreement, Japanese officials said.
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry minister Toshihiro Nikai and Vietnamese Trade minister Truong Dinh Tuyen reached a consensus that the two countries should enter into formal FTA talks, following two rounds of study group sessions on the bilateral arrangement, they said.
The two ministers met on the sidelines of trade ministers’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in HCM City, Vietnam.
Japan will be the first country with which Vietnam will enter into bilateral FTA negotiations.
Japan plans to start formal FTA negotiations with Brunei around the same time as Vietnam and the two will be the sixth and seventh Southeast Asian economies with which Tokyo will hold official talks on such an undertaking.
Tuyen also showed interest in Nikai’s proposal of creating a policy coordination body in East Asia, which is to be modelled after the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, they said.