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METI Minister Seko Visits Singapore

From March 2 to 4, 2018, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Singapore.

In the country, he attended the Fourth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting and held bilateral meetings each with H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade), Singapore, H.E. Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India, H.E. Mr. Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam, and H.E. Mr. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade, Republic of Indonesia. In addition, he held a telephone conference with H.E. Mr. Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, the United States.

1. Fourth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting

Under the chairmanship of Minister Lim, Singapore, the Fourth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting was held on March 3, 2018, and participants held discussions concerning approaches to advancing RCEP negotiations in 2018.

First of all, the ASEAN economies proposed that negotiations for RCEP should be concluded by the end of 2018. Minister Seko stated that Japan would like to support ASEAN aiming to conclude the negotiation in 2018 as long as a certain level of quality is assured in obtaining balance in terms of Market Access, Rules and cooperation.

Participants also held discussions on approaches to paving the way for the summit meeting scheduled to be held in November 2018, including approaches to taking advantage of ministerial meetings. Minister Seko stated that it is important for ministers not only to task negotiators to discuss matters covered by RCEP, but also to advance the negotiations by setting target dates in each negotiation area and specify issues to be solved at the ministerial level.

Participating ministers confirmed anew the resolution that member countries should make further efforts to conclude negotiations, and based on this, they included the following points in a joint media statement: they instruct all negotiators to ensure that every negotiating round and intersessional meeting achieve concrete outcomes that will bring the negotiations closer to the finish line, and to promptly raise any issues requiring the ministers’ guidance.

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2. Bilateral meetings

(1) Meeting with Minister Lim, Singapore

At the meeting with Minister Lim, chairman of the Fourth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting, both sides exchanged views concerning ideal approaches to future negotiation processes of RCEP and those to overcoming specific challenges and enriched their mutual understanding.

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(2) Meeting with Minister Prabhu, India

At the meeting with Minister Prabhu, both sides exchanged views concerning promotion of Japan’s investment in India, global trade issues and RCEP.

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(3) Meeting with Second Minister Erywan, Brunei Darussalam

At the meeting with Second Minister Erywan, the first occasion since the inauguration of Minister Erywan, Minister Seko expressed his congratulations for Minister Erywan’s taking office, and both sides agreed on Japan-Brunei cooperation in promoting bilateral economic ties and RCEP.

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(4) Meeting with Minister Enggartiasto, Indonesia

Both sides agreed to cooperatively engage in the advancement of RCEP negotiations and exchanged views concerning bilateral trade issues.

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3. Holding a telephone conference with Secretary Ross, the United States

At the meeting with Secretary Ross, Minister Seko stated Japan’s strong concerns over the situations in the fields of iron and steel and aluminum involving U.S.’s actions under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, and both sides exchanged frank views in an open manner.

Release date

March 5, 2018

Division in Charge

Economic Partnership 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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