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METI State Minister Suzuki Attended a Meeting of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade

From Monday, May 16, to Friday, May 20, 2016, Mr. Junji Suzuki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Arequipa, the Republic of Peru, to attend the meeting of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade. Taking the opportunity, State Minister Suzuki held bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Todd McClay, Minister of Trade, New Zealand; H.E. Mr. Winichai Chaemchaeng, Vice Minister for Commerce, Thailand; and Mr. Rebolledo, Vice Minister of International Trade of Foreign Affairs, Chile. In addition, State Minister Suzuki also exchanged views with H.E. Dr. Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative, and H.E. Dr. Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia.

1. Meeting of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade

Under the chairmanship of H.E. Ms. Blanca Magali Silva Velarde-Álvarez, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Republic of Peru, participants of the meeting proactively discussed a variety of issues, including supporting the multilateral trade system (WTO), realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), enhancing regional economic integration, e.g., connectivity and services, promoting MSME’s internationalization, and global value chains (GVCs).

State Minister Suzuki stated the following, and many economies agreed with his statements concerning Japan’s initiatives involving APEC. These initiatives were included in the joint statement of the meeting.

Supporting the multilateral trade system

  • To revitalize the WTO, it is important to make progress in formulating new rules according to structural changes in the global economy, such as development of GVC.
  • Concerning the negotiations on ITA and Environmental Goods, APEC’s efforts triggered the discussion at the WTO, and the APEC should contribute to the efforts for making new rules by the WTO.
  • Regarding the negotiations on Environmental Goods, participants should seek to complete negotiations for tariff elimination of a broad range of products as early as possible in this year, succeeding to the efforts of the APEC.

FTAAP and Next Generation Trade and Investment issues

  • Aiming to realize a comprehensive, high-quality FTAAP, APEC should continue to ensure progress in the ongoing undertakings, e.g., TPP and RCEP, on which the FTAAP is to be built - APEC should extract next-generation trade and investment issues that should be included in the FTAAP and make progress in sharing the common recognition and in capacity building on the issues, so that it can play the role of an incubator for the FTAAP.
  • Concerning manufacturing-related services, a sector that has been creating high value added in value chains in the manufacturing industry, the action plan to promote liberalization and facilitation in services, which was prepared under the leadership of Japan, should be securely carried out.
  • APEC should identify the digital trade issue as one of the next-generation trade and investment issues, and advance discussion for making global rules and supporting capacity building of digital trade, aiming at the enhancement of business environments, such as ensuring free data movement across borders.

Regional Economic Integration (services, connectivity (Partnership for Quality Infrastructure))

  • Japan has been engaging in efforts for improving productivity in the domestic service industry, and it has also been playing a leading role in APEC services agenda with a sector-specific approach, such as manufacturing-related services and environmental services. Based on these efforts, Japan will contribute to developing and implementing the Services Competitiveness Roadmap.
  • In 2015, Japan proposed a procedure for peer review and capacity building for domestic rules on infrastructure development and investment, and the member economies endorsed the proposal. As a part of its efforts, Japan will facilitate a review with the Philippines, the first economy to be reviewed, and contribute to improving the quality of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Under the initiative for enhancing the quality of electric power infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, launched in 2015 in order to improve the quality of energy infrastructure, Japan will engage in developing guidelines for ensuring the quality of electricity power plants.

MSME’s internationalization and GVC

  • Policy-based support is a significant element for promoting the internationalization of MSMEs. Triggered by the conclusion of TPP, Japan established “Consortium For New Export Nation” to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises that intend to expand business overseas.
  • In 2016, Vietnam and Japan will start a case study to collect best policy practices and develop a policy guideline, to promote the fostering of supporting industries as essential infrastructure of value chains.
  • Aiming to enhance the resilience of GVC in the APEC regions, Japan compiled a Guidebook on its experience of and lessons learned from the disruptions of value chains caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and held a seminar in Tokyo in March 2016 using the Guidebook as material.

2. Bilateral meetings and exchange of views

1) At the bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Todd McClay, Minister of Trade, New Zealand, State Minister Suzuki offered his congratulations on Minister McClay’s accession to office. He confirmed that both countries should endeavor to make the RCEP a comprehensive and high-quality agreement, and both sides agreed that they will continue cooperating in the effort. Furthermore, both sides exchanged views on the utilization of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in the future.
2) At the bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Winichai Chaemchaeng, Vice Minister for Commerce, Thailand, both sides exchanged views on the current state of implementation of the Japan-Thailand EPA. At the same time, Japan requested Thailand to take part in the WTO negotiations Environmental Goods.
3) At the bilateral meeting with Mr. Rebolledo, Vice Minister of International Trade of Foreign Affairs, Chile, Japan requested Chile to continue cooperation in streamlining investment environments, based on the close economic ties between Japan and Chile. In addition, in light of the fact that Chile is a chair of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting and Japan is a vice-chair thereof, State Minister Suzuki confirmed the efforts toward realization of the Council’s theme, namely, Enhancing Productivity for Inclusive Growth, as well as the bilateral cooperation under the multilateral framework, including the Pacific Alliance.
4) State Minister Suzuki exchanged views with H.E. Dr. Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative, on certain issues, including future efforts involving the FTAAP, efforts for overcoming new challenges, such as digital trade, as WTO agenda, and early conclusion of the negotiations on Environmental Goods, and confirmed that Japan and the United States will continue the cooperation in these areas.
5) State Minister Suzuki exchanged views with H.E. Dr. Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia, on certain issues, including the negotiations on the RCEP, desirable approaches to future to ERIA, and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and confirmed that both sides will cooperate in these areas.

Release date

May 20, 2016

Division in Charge

APEC Office, Trade Policy Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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