The Mongolian Foreign Minister G.Zandanshatar attended the 18th ministerial meeting of ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on July 22-23rd. AFTA is a trade bloc agreement by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations supporting local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries.
During the meeting the ministers discussed the results of their work, which have been implemented by the Free Trade Area since the last meeting and approved the agenda for the upcoming year.
During the meeting the Foreign Minister spoke with the ministers of the European Union, Japan, Korea, Australia and Indonesia, exchanging views on bilateral relations and other issues.
On July 23rd the Japanese and Mongolian foreign ministers met in a private conference. The Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto expressed his gratitude to his Mongolian counterpart G.Zandanshatar for Mongolia’s assistance in the wake of the devastating March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The two foreign ministers agreed that Mongolia and Japan will prepare to launch negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement, following the conclusion of a joint FTA study in March. Matsumoto also expressed hope that Japanese firms will be able to invest in projects to develop the Tavan Tolgoi coal mine in Mongolia.
The Japanese and Mongolian Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of boosting bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas through mutual high-level visits and strengthening economic ties. The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on issues such as nuclear cooperation. –http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/index.php/politics/6530-asean-free-trade-area-meeting
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