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METI Minister Motegi Attended the 2014 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT)

On May 17 and 18, 2014, Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Qingdao, People’s Republic of China to attend the 2014 Meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT). Moreover, he had additional meetings with Mr. Gao Hucheng, Minister of Commerce (MOFCOM), China, and Mr. Edward Fast, Minister of International Trade, Canada.

1. 2014 MRT meeting

Under the chairmanship of Minister Gao Hucheng from China, participants energetically discussed the progress made with WTO issues, regional economic integration, facilitation in fostering economic growth, and promoting connectivity, including the development of infrastructure. China holds the chairmanship for the 2014 APEC meetings.

Concerning the WTO issues, the ministers agreed that the APEC economies should take the lead in implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and that they should accelerate the post-Bali work. Regarding the ITA (Information Technology Agreement) expansion negotiations, the ministers agreed to continue aiming for early conclusion of the negotiations. They also confirmed that negotiations concerning trade in environmental goods should be promoted. In addition, they agreed to recommend that their Leaders extend their commitment to refraining from introducing any new protectionist measures until the end of 2018 for the purpose of resisting protectionism, which is expanding globally.

Furthermore, in relation to promoting regional economic integration, the ministers reaffirmed that they would endeavor to steadily advance work toward the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). As concrete steps toward this goal, the ministers agreed to implement initiatives regarding information sharing, capacity building, analytical work, and formulating a roadmap. Concerning the liberalization of trade in services, Japan proposed advancing the liberalization of trade and capacity building in the fields of manufacturing-related services and environmental services. Many economies supported the proposal, and it was incorporated into the Joint Ministerial Statement.

Japan reported that, regarding its economic growth, steady results have been achieved through the quick enactment and realization of bold economic reform in line with the growth strategy toward economic recovery. In addition, Japan pointed out to the APEC economies the significance of structural reform, in which all economies in the Asia-Pacific region should be involved. In response, this proposal is also reflected in the Joint Ministerial Statement. Japan also introduced its initiatives to promote the participation and advancement of women in the workforce, indicated that greater inclusion of women is a key to successful economic growth, and proposed the compilation of 50 case examples of selected enterprises engaging in the promotion of the participation and advancement of women in the workforce in the APEC economies to share best practices. In response, the ministers welcomed the proposal.

Regarding physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity, including infrastructure development, Japan invited government officials and other stakeholders who are in charge of infrastructure in the APEC economies to a seminar in Tokyo to discuss the quality of infrastructure in August, 2014, and proposed that Japan will take the lead in producing a guidebook for assessing the quality of infrastructure in an appropriate manner toward the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held in November, 2014. The ministers welcomed the idea.

2. Bilateral meetings

  1. Minister Motegi had a pleasant exchange of frank opinions with Minister Gao from China, concerning bilateral and multilateral cooperation. This is the first ministerial meeting between Japan and China on the mainland China after the transfer of the ownership of the Senkaku Islands to the Government of Japan in September 2012 and the relationship between Japan and China became tense. At the meeting, both sides shared in the recognition that despite some difficult challenges in the Japan-China relationship, they should advance cooperation in economic fields, including energy conservation, the environment and logistics, in accordance with the broad understanding of the value of a Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests. They agreed to advance cooperation toward advancing a framework for discussion between METI and MOFCOM. In addition, they exchanged views on the Japan-China-ROK FTA, RCEP, and the early conclusions of ITA expansion negotiation.

  2. Meeting with Minister Fast, Canada

    Minister Motegi also exchanged opinions with Minister Fast from Canada concerning negotiations on the Japan-Canada EPA and cooperation in the field of energy. Japan requested Canada to begin export of LNG from the Pacific Coast at a competitive price as soon as possible, and they discussed specific projects in Canada in which Japanese enterprises participate.

References:

Release Date

May 19, 2014

Division in Charge

APEC Office, Trade Policy Bureau

Related Information

APEC

Regional Affairs / China

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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