Japan, Brunei sign free trade, gas agreement

Brunei has signed a free trade agreement with Japan, which had sought assurances of a stable supply of natural gas from the Southeast Asian producer.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, June 18 -- Brunei has signed a free trade agreement with Japan, which had sought assurances of a stable supply of natural gas from the Southeast Asian producer.

Japan imports about 10% of its gas from Brunei, which has agreed to give Japan advance notice of any measures that would restrict the gas exports.

The agreement also stipulates the establishment of a government-level subcommittee on energy, provides that the two countries will honor existing energy agreements, and gives consideration to environmental concerns.

The accord within 3 years will eliminate the 20% tariff imposed by Brunei on cars and almost all auto parts from Japan, while Japan will immediately end tariffs on agricultural and fishery products from Brunei.

In 2006, Japan imported some ¥252.5 billion worth of goods from Brunei, almost all of it gas and crude oil, while some 70% of Japan's exports to Brunei are comprised of cars and auto parts.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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