Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mongolia and Japan - All Set to Sign the EPA

The third meeting of the Joint study group on feasibility study for establishing the Economic Partnership Agreement /EPA/ between Mongolia and Japan was held on 21st and 22nd, March, 2011 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia.

The Mongolian side was headed by G.Jargalsaikhan, Director of the Foreign trade and Economic cooperation department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Japanese delegation was headed by T.Furuya, Director of the Japan-China, Mongolia Economic Affairs Division of the Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting both sides exchanged respective views on the elements of the EPA, such as Trade in goods; Energy and mineral resources; Investment; Trade in services; Customs procedure; Intellectual property; Competition policy; Dispute avoidance and resolution; Transparency; Improvement of Business environment; Government procurement; Movement of Natural persons; Cooperation (agriculture, SME, financial services, e-commerce, environment, tourism, science and technology etc.).

The Joint study group Report on Mongolia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement was finalized at the end of the meeting.

Background

- In February 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and then-Mongolian President N.Enkhbayar signed “Mongolia-Japan Basic Action Plan toward Next 10 years”. In the Plan, Japan took note of Mongolia’s interest in concluding Free Trade Agreements/Economic Partnership Agreements with foreign countries and committed to providing possible support such as offering relevant information and advice in Mongolia’s preparation for that matter.

- In April 2009, then Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade S. Batbold proposed Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai to conclude an Economic Partnership Agreement between Mongolia and Japan (hereinafter referred to as “the EPA”) and asked for Japanese experts to be sent to Mongolia. Minister Nikai, in response to Minister Batbold, sent the experts promptly.

- In July 2009, then Mongolian Prime Minister Sanjaa Bayar proposed to the Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to conclude the EPA.

- In December 2009, Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Gombojav Zandanshatar met Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Masayuki Naoshima, and they decided to hold official talks between the governments towards the launching of the Joint Study Group.

- On November 9th 2010, the Japanese Cabinet made a decision on the “Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships”, stating that Japan will work towards commencement of “EPA negotiations with Mongolia, with which it is now undertaking a joint study, as soon as possible.”

- The first meeting of the Joint Study Group was held in Ulaanbaatar in June 2010, the second in Tokyo in November 2010 and the third in Ulaanbaatar in March 2011.

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