Japan is ranked at the world’s fourth largest importing country after USA, Germany and China. Its total imports in 2007 were US$ 621.1 billion accounting for 4.4 percent of the world imports. Japan trades with 211 countries in the world and in 2007 Lao PDR was ranked as Japan’s 133rd supplier of imports. Major exports of Lao PDR to Japan are wood products, handicraft, industrial products, garments, agricultural products, rattan/bamboo and coffee. Lao PDR is able to access to the Japanese market with preferential import duties under GSP scheme, and ASEAN-Japan FTA.
Generalized System of Preferences
In 1971, Japan implemented Generalized System of Preferences in favor of developing and least developed countries. Since 2001, Japan has amended its preferential scheme several times. Recently, on 1st April 2007, Japan extended the list of products eligible for duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs to 8,859 tariff lines. These products consist of 1,055 agricultural products (6-digit HS Code) and 1,999 textile products (6-digit HS Code). In addition, there are industrial products, handicraft and mineral products.
ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP)
A Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation was signed in Bali, Indonesia in October 2003 by ASEAN and Japan. This agreement aims to open-up and strengthen the cooperation and to facilitate trade, investment and services between ASEAN and Japan. In 2005, ASEAN and Japan started to negotiateFree Trade Agreement on trade in services, trade in goods, investment and economic cooperation. At the end of 2007, ASEAN and Japan concluded the negotiations and the AJCEP Agreement was signed in April 2008. Under the AJCEP, Lao PDR benefits from lower import duties of 0% and 5% on 10,690 products (8-digit HS Code) with the exception of 200 agricultural and industrial products that still maintain high import duties.
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