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METI Minister Seko Attended the ASEAN Economic Minister (AEM) - METI consultation and Other Meetings

From August 6 to 7, 2016, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Vientiane, Lao PDR, and attended the ASEAN Economic Minister (AEM) - METI consultation. In addition, Minister Seko held bilateral meetings with Mr. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines, Mr. Aphiradi Tantraphon, Minister of Commerce, Thailand, and Dr. Than Myint-U, Minister of Commerce, Myanmar.

At the consultation and bilateral meetings, in light of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Japan and participating countries discussed ideal approaches to ASEAN-Japan cooperation in a new era, and agreed on the direction of the ASEAN-Japan economic partnership in the coming decade, including the creation of new industries with collaboration between Japan and the ASEAN region.

1. Enhancement and expansion of economic and industrial cooperation between Japan and ASEAN

(AEM - METI consultation)

At the AEM - METI consultation on August 6, participating countries confirmed the establishment of the AEC and the changes in global conditions, and based on the confirmation, they discussed issues focusing on ASEAN-Japan cooperation in a new era.

Specifically, Minister Seko proposed the following three pillars that will bolster ASEAN-Japan cooperation:

  1. Maintaining the existing types of cooperation, namely developing supply chains and infrastructures from both hardware and software perspectives;
  2. Striving for cooperation in creating new industries that will support future economic development in the ASEAN region; and
  3. Committing to high-quality Mega FTAs, raising awareness of the significance of free trade, and aiming to realize high-quality RCEP.

Participating ministers agreed on renewal of the Roadmap Concerning the ASEAN-Japan Economic Partnership in the Coming Decade, in which the three pillars were included.

In particular, concerning the creation of new industries, Japan addressed the creation of a ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network, a new framework under which companies in Japan and the ASEAN region will collaboratively advance business development in Asia taking advantage of the fourth industrial revolution. In response, ASEAN economies expressed great expectations and welcomed the proposal.

In addition, the Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA) explained requests and proposals, a consensus of opinions from about 7,000 Japanese companies in the ASEAN region, to ASEAN countries. In response, ASEAN countries stated that they will endeavor to realize the requests.

Finally, Minister Seko stated that, as a celebration event of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of ASEAN, Japan is considering hosting a meeting titled “ASEAN Economic Ministers Roadshow” in 2017 by inviting economic ministers from ASEAN to Japan, and the ASEAN representatives welcomed the proposal.

2. Bilateral meetings with ASEAN economies

At the bilateral meetings with Mr. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines, and with Mr. Aphiradi Tantraphon, Minister of Commerce, Thailand, both ministers respectively stated proactive opinions to Japan concerning their accession to the TPP. In addition, at the meeting with Secretary Lopez of the Philippines, chair of ASEAN in 2017, Minister Seko exchanged views concerning the enhanced economic partnership between Japan and ASEAN in 2017.

At the bilateral meeting with Dr. Than Myint-U, Minister of Commerce, Myanmar, Minister Seko confirmed that both sides will continue to engage in the development of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), an important Japan-Myanmar project, and both sides agreed on the inauguration of a New Thilawa Initiative, a new policy-dialogue framework to connect successful achievements in the SEZ to the development of domestic industries in Myanmar.

(Meeting with Secretary Lopez, the Philippines)

(Meeting with Minister Aphiradi, Thailand)

Release date

August 8, 2016

Division in Charge

Asia and Pacific Division, Trade Policy Bureau

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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