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(Authentic text)

A Renewed call for the early conclusion of
a Japan-Mexico Free Trade Agreement

Joint Statement
The 24th Japan-Mexico Businessmen's Joint Committee Meeting

October 23, 2001

Tokyo, Japan

  1. Keidanren and COMCE held the 24th Japan-Mexico Businessmen's Joint Committee Meeting at Keidanren Building, Tokyo on October 22-23, 2001. A Japanese delegation of about 70 members led by Mr. Nobuhiko Kawamoto, Chairman of Keidanren's Japan-Mexico Economic Committee, and a Mexican delegation of more than 40 public officials and businessmen led by Mr. Tomas Gonzales Sada, Chairman of the Mexico-Japan Business Committee, and the Honorable Luis-Ernesto Derbez, Minister of Economy, attended the meeting. The two sides renewed their call for the early conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Japan and Mexico.

  2. The two delegations underscored the following points with respect to the significance and importance of a Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Mexico:

  3. The following candid views were stated by the Japanese side:

  4. The governments of Japan and Mexico have already set up a Japan-Mexico Joint Study Group on the Strengthening of Bilateral Economic Relations, so that the two sides can hold comprehensive consultations on bilateral economic matters, including the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement. Before the end of the year, Japan and Singapore are expected to conclude a "Japan-Singapore Economic Agreement for a New Age Partnership," Japan's first-ever free trade agreement. Under these circumstances, the Japanese and Mexican delegations expressed the hope that the Japan-Mexico Joint Study Group would determine the gains of consumers and producers of the two countries from an overall perspective and make constructive recommendations toward the conclusion of a Japan-Mexico FTA. The business communities in Japan and Mexico must also strive to foster national understanding for an FTA between the two countries and to this end must make every effort to get public opinion on their side.

  5. The Japanese side also made the following request with respect to the PROSEC preferential taxation system, which came into force on January 1 this year and replaced the NAFTA-targeted Maquiladora system:
    There are many problems regarding the PROSEC system, such as sudden changes in the list of applicable products and tariff rates. While it is possible to get government authorization to make use of Regla Octava, a provisional measure set up to complement PROSEC, Regla Octava is, after all, only provisional and has a time limit.
    It is requested that the government of Mexico ensure stability and predictability of laws related to the PROSEC system, increase the range of PROSEC-applicable products and make PROSEC permanent. The validity of Regla Octava should be extended to one year from six months now.

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