Japan has signed a bi-lateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India, which has been designed to boost trade between export-dependent Japan, and rapidly-growing India. The bi-lateral accord, which will make Japan and India each other’s largest free trade partner, is expected to be endorsed in parliament; “promptly.”
The 2 countries have been in discussions about the trade accord since 2007, and the final pact will scrap tariffs on 94% of goods within 10 years, with the exception of some of Japan’s fiercely protected agricultural commodities; such as rice, wheat and some dairy products.
It is believed that the new trade agreement with India, is also an effort by Japan to catch up with South Korean investment, which is overtaking Japan when it comes to the number of global FTA agreements it has inked; to improve its global competitiveness. As well, it is hoped that this deal will make investments into India’s infrastructure, to accommodate the increasing demands; of it’s rapidly growing economy.
It has been a year, since Japan was hit hard by the devastating tsunami in March 2011, and the numbers for shipping container traffic; have been remarkably strong. However, the ports that were hardest hit by the disaster, saw their container traffic decline as expected. Tohoku and northern Kanto regions on the Pacific coast, saw their combined numbers drop by 67 percent. Sendai-Siogama Port in Miyagi Prefecture and Onahama Port in Fukushima Prefecture, reported that shipping container traffic dropped by 79 percent and 74 percent, respectively.
On the other hand, the port in Sakata saw a 90 percent increase in shipping container traffic, as a result of the damaged ports’ inability to operate properly; and accommodate shipping traffic. Japan’s ports set a record in 2011, handling 17,508,000 shipping containers, which represents a 4 percent rise over 2010 results; and making it 2 years in a row of increases; in container handling. Tokyo lead the way, with 4,144,000 containers being processed, in 2011.
Japan’s strong distribution ties with China and Southeast Asian countries, are fuelling the economic base of the Japanese economy. The overall rise in shipping container numbers, points to a strong foundation to build upon, despite the country’s struggles in recent years.