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METI Minister Seko Visited the Republic of Peru and the Republic of Panama

From November 16 (Wed.) to 23 (Wed.), 2016, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Lima, the Republic of Peru, to attend the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM). Taking this opportunity, Minister Seko held bilateral meetings respectively with: H.E. Dr. Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative, H.E. Mr. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade, Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Gonzalo Tamayo Flores, Minister of Energy and Mines, Peru, and H.E. Ms. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, Canada. In addition, he also organized a Ministerial Meeting on the Mega FTA Negotiations Members, and frankly exchanged views with related countries regarding the TPP, RCEP and other issues. Concerning the Japan-Russia relationship, he received reports from director-general level officials in Japan and Russia concerning the work plan for the eight-point cooperation plan that Japan and Russia concluded.

On the way back to Japan, he visited the Republic of Panama and made a proposal to the country regarding the stable operation of the Panama Canal after its expansion.

1. APEC Ministerial Meeting

Under the co-chairmanship by H.E. Mr. Eduardo Ferreyros Kuppers, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and H.E. Mr. Ricardo Luna Mendoza, Minister of Foreign Relations, Peru, participants proactively discussed issues focusing on four subjects: strengthening regional economic integration and quality growth, enhancing the regional food market, modernizing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMES) in the Asia-Pacific region, and developing human capital.

In addition, Minister Seko made the following proposals and statements concerning APEC efforts, and many economies agreed with such. Finally, these proposals and statements were included in the AMM Joint Statement.

  •  Japan pointed out that APEC should strongly promote free trade policies and structural reform despite stagnation of the global economy and trade and with momentum growing in trends toward anti-free trade arguments.
  • Japan also pointed out that, concerning the FTAAP, participating countries need to aim to conclude a comprehensive, high-quality agreement and that the smooth enforcement of the TPP and the conclusion of the high-quality RCEP and the Japan-China-ROK FTA are important for realizing the FTAAP. Japan also encouraged all TPP participating countries to make full efforts in gaining early domestic approval of the TPP, while Japan is making maximum efforts to approve the TPP during the current session of the Diet.
  •  Japan mentioned that digital trade will bring great business opportunities to businesses, including SMEs, and made a proposal that APEC member economies should advance discussions, placing digital trade as a challenge in APEC’s next generation trade and investment issues, aiming to develop an environment in which information can be distributed in a safe and free manner.
  • Finally, concerning the high-quality infrastructure development and investment issue, Japan appraised the APEC’s infrastructure development and investment system, made a proposal that Japan will cooperate in capacity building activities, and reported that Japan has inaugurated research regarding the Philippines. In addition, Japan also explained that APEC member economies reached consensus about the Guidelines of Quality Power Infrastructures in 2016 and stated that Japan will continue to contribute to the dissemination of high-quality infrastructures in the APEC region.
  • Concerning the developing human capital issue, Japan reported that it is engaging in working-style reform initiatives focusing on three pillars: flexible working styles, cutting-edge human resource development and transfer of labor forces to highly-productive businesses, under the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens policy, aiming to achieve sustainable economic growth in Japan despite of facing an aging society with fewer children. Moreover, Japan also mentioned its efforts in encouraging women in the workplace and declared that it is supporting women who are playing an active role in a variety of fields.

2. Bilateral meetings

1) Meeting with United States Trade Representative Froman

  • Minister Seko stated the need for disseminating the TPP standards in the Asia-Pacific region for the growth, prosperity and stability of the region and explained that Japan is exerting full efforts in advancing the procedures for gaining domestic approval of the TPP. In response, Trade Representative Froman showed gratitude anew and stated that the procedures will encourage the United States and other member countries.
  • In addition, both sides agreed that Japan and the United States will collaborate in efforts toward the conclusion of negotiations concerning the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) by the end of 2016.

2) Meeting with Minister Enggartiasto, Indonesia

  • Both sides discussed the enhancement of the bilateral economic relationship and exchanged views concerning economic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.

3) Meeting with Minister Tamayo, Peru

  • According to the Memorandum in the Field of Mining, concluded by Minister Seko and Minister Tamayo taking advantage of an official event during the Japan-Peru Leaders’ Meeting in November 2016, both sides discussed specific cooperation measures, e.g., environmental measures and research technologies, in addition to discussing the issue of the improvement of the investment environment in Peru. In addition, they agreed to establish a public-private joint council and advance its activities.

4) Meeting with Minister Freeland, Canada

  • Both ministers welcomed the smooth development of the Japan-Canada economic relationship and exchanged views concerning the trends surrounding economic partnership agreements, including the TPP.
  • In addition, both sides agreed that Japan and Canada will make efforts toward the conclusion of negotiations concerning the WTO EGA by the end of 2016.

3. Ministerial Meeting of the Mega FTA Negotiations Members

In the evening of November 17, Japan organized a Ministerial Meeting, under the chairmanship of Minister Seko, of the Mega FTA Negotiations Members, calling for attendance by trade ministers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Viet Nam - participating countries to Mega FTA in the Asia-Pacific region, e.g., the TPP and RCEP.

At the meeting, concerning the TPP, Japan explained that Japan has been exerting full efforts for advancing the procedures for gaining domestic approval of the TPP, and based on the explanation, participating ministers candidly exchanged opinions concerning the current situation surrounding domestic approval of the TPP and the future perspectives for approval among each country.

Ministers confirmed the shared recognition that participating countries will support the TPP as an important and comprehensive approach to achieving the APEC’s goal, i.e., free trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, they highly appraised Japan’s steady advancement in the process for gaining domestic approval of the TPP. In addition, Japan encouraged participants to bear in mind the standards of the TPP for the high-quality RCEP.

4. Receiving reports on the work plan for the eight-point cooperation plan for Russia

As the Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia, Minster Seko received reports from Mr. Hirofumi Katase, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, METI, and a deputy chair of Japan-Russia High-Level Working Group, and from Mr. Voskresensky, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Russia, concerning the work plan for the eight-point cooperation plan, which was concluded between Japan and Russia.

Minister Seko expressed the view that, according to the work plan, Japan intends to cooperate with Russia in advancing related efforts toward the visit of President Vladimir Putin of Russia to Japan, scheduled for about four weeks from now.

5. Visiting Panama

Following the visit to Peru, Minister Seko visited Panama on November 21, 2016, as the first METI Minister visiting the country, and held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Dulcidio De La Guardia, Minister of Economy and Finance, and H.E. Mr. Roberto R. Roy, Minister for Canal Affairs and President of Metro de Panama. At the meeting, Minister Seko confirmed that the dissemination of high-quality infrastructures is important. At the same time, he mentioned the current state of the Panama Canal he observed when visiting in advance, and based on this, he made an offer to the country concerning the stable operation of the canal after its expansion as an important issue in ensuring energy safety.

 

Release date

November 24, 2016

Division in Charge

APEC Office, Multilateral Trade System Department, Europe Division & Latin America and Caribbean Office, Trade Policy Bureau

Related website

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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