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Japan, ASEAN sign framework for economic partnership
( 2003-10-08 16:18) (Xinhua)

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and leaders of the 10 member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed Wednesday the framework for comprehensive economic partnership in Bali, the venue for the ninth ASEAN Summit.

The framework is aimed at minimizing barriers and deepening economic linkages between ASEAN and Japan. It intends to lower business costs, increase intra-regional trade and investment, create a larger market and larger economies of scale for the businesses of both ASEAN and Japan and enhance ASEAN and Japan's attractiveness to capital and talents.

Following the signing of the framework, ASEAN and Japan will start the consultations on the liberalization of trade in goods, services and investments from the beginning of 2004.

Koizumi attended the summit along with leaders of other ASEAN's dialogue partners, namely China, India and South Korea.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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