A Japan - Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement

November. 29, 2004

The Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Junichiro Koizumi, and the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo held a meeting in Tokyo, Japan, on December 11, 2003, and decided that the two Governments should start negotiations in early 2004 for a Japan - Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, based upon the discussions and achievements in the Working Group and the Joint Coordinating Team for the Agreement during 2002 and 2003, and that they should conclude the said Agreement within a reasonable period of time. They also reaffirmed that the Agreement would develop and enhance the comprehensive economic partnership between Japan and ASEAN.

On this basis, a series of meetings between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines were held since February this year and through these meetings active and substantial negotiations were conducted.

On 29th November 2004, Prime Minister Koizumi and President Arroyo have conducted a bilateral meeting and confirmed that both sides reached agreements in principle on major elements of the Agreement.

Based on the achievement made so far, both sides confirmed that they will expeditiously proceed with work to finalize the Agreement, including negotiations on the text of the Agreement.

The purposes of the Agreement are to promote a freer trans-border flow of goods, persons, services and capital between Japan and the Philippines. The Agreement also aims to promote a comprehensive economic partnership, which includes intellectual property, competition policy, improvement of business environment and bilateral cooperation in such fields as human resources development, information and communications technology and small and medium enterprises. After the conclusion of the Agreement, the Agreement is expected to contribute to make the most of the complementary relations between Japan and the Philippines and thus to strengthen even more the existing bilateral economic relations.

Through the negotiations conducted so far, both sides have reached agreements in principle on major elements of the Agreement, which are as follows:.

1. Trade in Goods

Tariffs of industrial products and agriculture, forestry, and fishery products will be eliminated or reduced comprehensively. The major elements in those sectors are in the attached paper (PDF).

2. Customs Procedures

Both sides will promote information exchange and cooperation for the purpose of facilitating trade through simplification and harmonization of customs procedures and effective enforcement against illicit trafficking of goods.

3. Trade in Services

Both sides will, for the purpose of enhancing transparency, make a list providing all measures inconsistent with Market Access and National Treatment. Both sides will be committed to standstill obligations in many service sectors and to liberalizations in specific service sectors.

4. Investment

The Agreement will include provisions concerning National Treatment, Most-Favored-Nation Treatment and Performance Requirement Prohibitions for the liberalization of investment and enhance transparency by specifying all exceptions to these provisions. Furthermore, provisions concerning protection of investment will also be included in the Agreement.

5. Movement of Natural Persons

The Japanese side will allow entry of Filipino candidates for qualified nurses and certified careworkers that satisfy certain requirements and will allow them to work, after completing training of Japanese language and others, as preparation for obtaining national licenses, on the assumption that the Philippine side will provide a similar framework to meet the Japanese interest. (Duration of stay: up to 3 years for nurses, 4 years for certified careworkers)

After taking the national license examinations, successful candidates are allowed to work as qualified nurses and certified careworkers. A scheme in which candidates, after completing training of Japanese language, will be allowed in professional schools that give qualification as certified careworkers to those who successfully complete their courses, will also be established.

Details of the above-mentioned schemes are as shown in the attached paper (PDF). Regarding the number of the Filipino candidates for qualified nurses and certified careworkers to be accepted in Japan, the Japanese side will consult with the Philippine side.

The Philippine side will take necessary measures to facilitate movement of natural persons including streamlining of immigration and work permit procedures and proposals to reduce burden borne by the Japanese nationals residing in the Philippines with regard to the imposition of the "Exit Clearance Certification Fee".

6. Cooperation

Both sides will promote bilateral cooperation, with a view to contributing to strengthening the economic partnership between them, in nine fields, namely human resource development, financial services, information and communications technology, energy and environment, science and technology, trade and investment promotion, small and medium enterprises, tourism, and transportation.

7. Intellectual Property

The Agreement will include cooperation elements and appropriate protection and enforcement elements. Both sides will also conduct consultations for the purpose of enhancing protection and enforcement of intellectual property through consultation mechanism.

8. Competition Policy

Both sides will take appropriate measures to promote competition by addressing anti-competitive activities and cooperate in the field of competition.

9. Mutual Recognition

For the purpose of facilitating bilateral trade in electrical products, both sides will continue negotiations on a provision on mutual recognition on electrical products.

10. Business Environment

In order to further promote bilateral trade and investment, both sides will cooperate to improve business environment in both countries. For this purpose, a framework for consultations will be set up, such as a committee on business environment where representatives from private sector can participate.

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