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METI Minister Motegi Visited Australia and the Philippines

From July 17 to 22, 2014, Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Sydney, Australia, and Manila, the Republic of the Philippines. In Sydney, he attended the G20 Trade Ministers meeting and the Japan Infrastructure Market Seminar, and also had bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, and H.E. Mr. Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, of Australia, H.E. Mr. Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative, and H.E. Mr. Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade. In Manila, he had bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III, President, H.E. Mr. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry, and H.E. Mr. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, of the Philippines.

1. Sydney, Australia

1) G20 Trade Ministers meeting

The meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment of Australia, and the ministers energetically discussed various issues, including trade actions as part of G20 country comprehensive growth strategies, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), and the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA).

At the beginning of the meeting, as a lead speaker, Minister Motegi introduced Japan’s growth strategy, stating its bold reforms, including the reduction of an effective corporate tax rates, active utiliztion of foreign talent and reforming the electricity system. In addition, he stated to the G20 members that Japan is concerned about the growing number of countries adopting protectionist measures, and encouraged them to make further efforts to observe the standstill and rollback commitments. The G20 members confirmed that promoting trade is a vital engine for economic growth that creates quality jobs. They also welcomed their respective contributions to domestic actions to support trade growth that members are taking as part of their national growth strategies, which aim to lift their collective GDP by more than 2 per cent above the current trajectory over the next five years.

Regarding the WTO, Minister Motegi at adopting the TFA protocol consistent with the Bali ministerial decisions is significant, and that the early conclusion of the expansion of the ITA, along with the promotion of high-level FTAs, will reinforce the WTO system.Through the discussions, the G20 members undertook to show leaderships to fully implement all the elements agreed at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, including the TFA, consistent with the agreed timelines.

2) Japan Infrastructure Market Seminar

Minister Motegi attended the Japan Infrastructure Market Seminar, for the purpose of strengthening the economic relationship between Japan and Australia, and particularly to encourage cooperation in developing infrastructure, along with H.E. Mr. Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales and H.E. Mr. Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.

During the opening speech, he explained Japan’s growth strategy, which includes measures for doubling the direct investment in Japan and for decreasing the effective corporate tax rates, as well as describing the infrastructure investment cooperation between Japan and Australia in Asia. At the seminar, he also encouraged Australia to promote investment in Japan and enhance cooperation for improving the environment for Japan-Australia infrastructure investment, and build bases to meet the need for infrastructure in Asia through Japan-Australia cooperation, which is expected to have a value of 8 trillion dollars.

3) Bilateral meetings with ministers

[i] H.E. Mr. Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australia

Both sides exchanged views on the Japan-Australia economic relationship, including Australia’s promotion of investment in Japan, as well as efforts for improving infrastructure in emerging countries in Asia. Following the talk, they agreed that they will cooperate in disseminating the Public Private Partnership (PPP) system in South East Asia and India towards development of high-quality infrastructures.

[ii] H.E. Mr. Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, Australia

Japan requested that Australia, which is one of the most important suppliers of natural resources to Japan, stably supply natural resources and energy, including LNG and coal to Japan. Both sides confirmed that they will further deepen the bilateral relationship in the field of resources and energy. In particular, Minister Motegi requested that Australia supply LNG, the imports of which are expected to increase significantly, at a more competitive price.

[iii] H.E. Mr. Michael Froman, U.S. Trade Representative

Both sides exchanged views on various issues, including the G20 Trade Ministers meeting, WTO, APEC, and TPP. In addition, they confirmed the collaboration between Japan and the U.S. regarding the expansion of the ITA and the early conclusion of the TPP.

[iv] H.E. Mr. Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade

Both sides exchanged opinions on the Japan-EU EPA, and they shared the goal of reaching an agreement in principle in 2015. They recognized that the negotiations have passed the half-way mark. In order to facilitate the negotiations, they agreed to direct their negotiators for the next meeting to share their intended goals and approaches to achieving those goals in the finalized agreement.

2. Manila, the Philippines

1) Bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Minister Motegi requested that Secretary Paje provide cooperation for a stable supply of natural resources to Japan. Secretary Paje expressed appreciation for investment from Japanese enterprises in the project for nickel refining and also stated that the Philippines will make efforts to continue the stable supply of nickel ore and other natural resources to Japan.

2) Bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry

Both sides exchanged views on the fields in which Japan and the Philippines should advance industrial cooperation, as well as cooperation in the multilateral and regional frameworks. Besides, Minister Motegi requested that the Philippines improve the business environment in the country, including facilitating the refund for value-added tax and simplifying the application procedures for the bilateral double taxation treaty.

Following the talk, both sides signed a Joint Statement on Japan-Philippines Industrial Cooperation, including the following highlights:

  1. Enhancing cooperation in the multilateral and regional frameworks, including steadily advancing the RCEP negotiation and enhancing the collaboration in APEC ; and
  2. Promoting the efforts for the Japan-Philippines industrial cooperation in the fields such as automobiles, the service industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

3) Bilateral meeting with President Aquino

Minister Motegi reported to President Aquino that the joint statement had been signed with Secretary Domingo. They also exchanged views concerning the improvement of the business environment in the Philippines and the stable supply of mineral resources to Japan, and confirmed that they will strengthen the bilateral relationship under the strategic partnership.


Signing ceremony of the joint statement with Secretary Domingo

Bilateral meeting with President Aquino

Release Date

July 23, 2014

Division in Charge

  • Information on the visit to Australia:
    G20: International Economic Affairs Division, Trade Policy Bureau
    Japan Infrastructure Market Seminar: Asia and Pacific Division, Trade Policy Bureau
  • Information on the visit to the Philippines:
    Asia and Pacific Division, Trade Policy Bureau
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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