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Minister Hayashi Attended the 2015 APEC Ministerial Meeting

From November 15 (Sun.) through 17 (Tue.), 2015, Mr. Motoo Hayashi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Manila, Republic of the Philippines to attend the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ministerial Meeting. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Minister Hayashi also held bilateral meetings with Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative; H.E. Mr. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of Trade and Industry of the Philippines; H.E. Ms. Apiradi Tantraporn, Minister of Commerce of Thailand; and Dr. Alexey Valentinovich Ulyukaev, Minister of Economic Development of Russia.

1. APEC Ministerial Meeting


The Meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of Trade and Industry Domingo and H.E. Mr. Albert F. del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, and the Ministers of APEC member economies held extensive discussions under the themes of “Inclusive Growth through Integrated Economies” for AMM Plenary Session 1 held in the afternoon on November 16, 2015, “Dedicated Session of Trade Ministers on APEC’s Support for the Multilateral Trading System and the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference” held in the early morning of November 17, 2015, and “Inclusive Growth through Sustainable and Resilient Communities” for AMM Plenary Session 2 held in the morning of November 17, 2015.

At the opening of the Meeting, the Ministers lamented and offered silent prayers for all victims who were injured and killed in the series of terror attacks that occurred in Paris. Then, Minister Hayashi, as the first speaker of AMM Plenary Session 1, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and his sympathy to the victims as well as emphasizing that such despicable, inhuman terrorist action could never be justified for any reason.

Also, Minister Hayashi presented the proposals and opinions described below, which were supported by many economies and were incorporated into the AMM Joint Ministerial Statement.

AMM Plenary Session 1: “Inclusive Growth through Integrated Economies”

Minister Hayashi explained the importance of extending and strengthening the APEC Growth Strategy, which was formulated in Yokohama, Japan in 2010 and is to be reviewed in 2015.

  • Then, concerning the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, he pointed out that agreement in principle on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which was reached in October 2015, was significant progress toward the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and that the early signing and entry into force of the TPP Agreement, an increase in the number of countries participating in the Agreement, and the acceleration of the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would be important in the future.
  • Also, he suggested that the Action Plans for the liberalization and facilitation of manufacturing-related services and environmental services, whose drafts were proposed by Japan, should be supported at the APEC Ministerial Meeting, because it is necessary to liberalize trade in services, which accounts for about 40% of the volume of world trade on a value-added basis, in order to realize a comprehensive and high-quality FTAAP.
  • Furthermore, he stated that the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF), which was formulated in light of discussions on these Action Plans, should also be supported at the APEC Ministerial Meeting.
  • Lastly, concerning the idea of the Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, which has been promoted since May 2015 under the initiative of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister Hayashi proposed the initiation of a peer review and capacity building mechanism for infrastructure development and investment in APEC.

Dedicated Session regarding the WTO

  • Minister Hayashi exchanged opinions with other Ministers on the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10), which is to be held in 2015, and the future of the multilateral trading system. Specifically, first, he pointed out that it was important to prevent protectionism and that every economy should proceed with domestic structural reforms for the elimination of excess capacity; second, he emphasized the importance of reaching a final agreement on the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) before MC10; and third, he explained that the Doha Round negotiations should proceed toward MC10, but be limited to the fields in which negotiations can be conducted and that new approaches should be deliberated after the conclusion of MC10.

AMM Plenary Session 2: “Inclusive Growth through Sustainable and Resilient Communities”

  • Concerning the resilience of the energy supply, he announced that Japan would cooperate in the initiative for enhancing the quality of electric power infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, which is to be launched based on Japan’s proposal. Also, he pointed out that it was important for APEC to hold more detailed discussions on the ideal state of gas security including increasing flexibility in the LNG market.
  • He expressed his gratitude for the completion of the APEC Guidebook, which mainly introduces efforts made by Japanese companies to enhance global value chain resilience concerning the Great East Japan Earthquake, and invited other economies to the capacity building seminar to be held in Japan in 2016.

2. Bilateral meetings

(1) Meeting with Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative


  • Minister Hayashi had a meeting with Ambassador Michael Froman, the United States Trade Representative, and they confirmed that reaching substantial agreement on the TPP Agreement was a significant outcome of the cooperation between Japan and the U.S.
  • Also, they agreed that while the global economy is slowing, it is necessary for Japan and the U.S. to make efforts to prevent protectionist measures including promoting domestic structural reforms for the elimination of excess capacity which leads to protectionism.
  • Furthermore, in relation to the WTO negotiations, they confirmed the importance of aiming to reach agreements on the Doha Round negotiations at MC10, but limiting these to fields where possible agreements could be reached; achieving the results on the expansion of the ITA and Environmental Goods negotiations at the Nairobi conference (MC10).

(2) Meeting with Minister of Commerce Apiradi of Thailand


  • Minister Hayashi had a meeting with Minister Apiradi and exchanged opinions on the realization of the FTAAP as well as requesting Thailand’s cooperation in concluding the ITA expansion negotiations before MC10. Also, they exchanged opinions on the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and issues in the business environment surrounding Japanese companies.
  • Minister Apiradi made positive comments on the possibility of Thailand’s participation in the TPP Agreement, and Minister Hayashi welcomed this. Furthermore, he answered that if Thailand decided to participate in the TPP Agreement while preparing to meet the high level of standards required by the Agreement, this would significantly contribute to stability and prosperity in the Trans-Pacific Region and that he would like to hold meaningful discussions on these matters in the future.

(3) Meeting with Secretary Domingo of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines


  • Minister Hayashi had a meeting with Secretary Domingo (Co-chairman of this APEC Ministerial Meeting), and they confirmed the cooperation between Japan and the Philippines at the APEC Ministerial Meeting and other relevant meetings held this time.
  • Also, they exchanged opinions on the promotion of bilateral cooperation regarding industry, particularly the automobile industry, and issues in the business environment surrounding Japanese companies.
  • Secretary Domingo made positive comments on the possibility of the Philippines’ participation in the TPP Agreement, and Minister Hayashi welcomed this. Also, in light of requests from Secretary Domingo, they agreed that Japan would provide detailed information on the contents of the TPP Agreement to the Philippines.

(4) Meeting with Minister of Economic Development Ulyukaev of Russia


  • Minister Hayashi had a meeting with Minister Ulyukaev and they confirmed that they would continue to cooperate in strengthening the economic relationship between Japan and Russia. Also, concerning cooperation in fields related to SME business activities, they agreed to extend the period of a memorandum of cooperation between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Economic Development that was concluded in 2013.

Release date

November 18, 2015

Division in charge

APEC Office, Trade Policy Bureau

Related Information

APEC

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