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METI Minister Seko Visits the People’s Republic of China

October 26, 2018

From October 25 (Thur.) to 27 (Sat.), 2018, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, to attend the First Japan-China Forum on Third Country Business Cooperation.

He attended a Japan-China summit meeting and other meetings, signed three memorandums and held a meeting with H.E. Dr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce, China.

1. Outline of the results of the forum

(1) Outline of the forum

On October 26 (Fri.), 2018, the First Japan-China Forum on Third Country Business Cooperation was held in Beijing. As representatives from the government of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, Minister Seko and Mr. Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the forum, while as those from the government of China, H.E. Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, H.E. Dr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce, and H.E. Mr. He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), attended. The forum brought together approximately 1,500 participants, including top business executives in Japan and China, and participants exchanged proactive views. In line with the convening of the forum, governmental organizations, companies and economic associations in Japan and China signed and exchanged 52 memorandums of cooperation (MOCs).

At the plenary session held in the morning of the date, Prime Minister Abe delivered a speech and stated that aiming to meet large-scale global demand and address a variety of challenges, the governments of Japan and China will jointly support the formulation of projects in third countries that meet international standards, such as openness, transparency, economic viability and fiscal sustainability, and bring about win-win-win relationships as benefits to third countries.

Minister Seko also delivered a speech and stated that the Japan-China economic ties are now shifting from competition to collaboration, and the forum can become a kickoff initiative for starting new Japan-China economic cooperation, that in collaboration with the government of China, the government of Japan and those of China will support quality projects in compliance with international standards, and that a session on regional development under the forum will hold discussions on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a promising economic area involving Japan-China cooperation in Thailand.

As representatives from China, Premier Keqiang, Minister Zhong and Chairman He delivered speeches. Premier Keqiang expressed China’s high expectations for close cooperation between Japan and China in third countries taking their respective advantages in a mutual complement manner and for development of projects beneficial to China, Japan and third countries. He continued that, aiming to make Japan and China grow through the free trade system, China will review domestic policies to simplify administrative procedures, review taxation and protect intellectual property rights, through which China will develop business environments and propel sustainable economic policies in the field of finance as well.

Chairman He stated that Japan-China cooperation will facilitate contribution to and development of third countries and will bring about sustainable growth in the world economy and that China will focus on common philosophies, i.e., innovations, harmonization, greening and openness, and will place a higher priority on observance of “commercial principles and international standards.” He continued that companies should voluntarily demonstrate their abilities and respect the ideas of third countries, and this approach will uncover new models for innovative Japan-China cooperation.

Minister Zhong stated that Japan-China relationships have been staying on a normal track and their cooperation in third countries is a timely effort, and that both governments should respect markets and companies’ independence and support efforts by such companies and place weight on mutual trust and benefits as an important element.

At the meeting in the afternoon on the date, Japan and China held sessions concerning four fields, i.e., transportation and distribution, energy and environment, industrial sophistication and financial support (i.e., IoT, new economy, healthcare, etc.) and regional development (i.e., EEC, industrial parks, smart cities, etc.). At these sessions, Japanese and Chinese companies explained their efforts and exchanged opinions on issues related to further cooperation of Japanese and Chinese companies in third countries. Moreover, at the session on regional development, the Secretary General of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office and a representative from Thai company explained their efforts involving the EEC in Thailand, and participants exchanged proactive views on cooperation of companies among Japan, China and Thailand.

(2) MOCs signed in line with the forum

In line with the convening of the forum, governmental organizations, companies and economic associations in Japan and China signed and exchanged 52 MOCs. These MOCs target a wide variety of fields, including infrastructure, distribution, IT, healthcare and finance.

2. Memorandums signed by Minister Seko

On October 26 (Fri.), 2018, Minister Seko attended the Japan-China summit meeting. Following this, witnessed by Prime Minister Abe and Premier Li, Minister Seko signed thee memorandums as below.

●Memorandum on Establishment of Japan-China Innovation and Cooperation Dialogue between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

●Memorandum Concerning Enrichment of Comprehensive Cooperation between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China
●Memorandum Concerning Establishment of Japan-China Ministerial Dialogue on Industry between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China

3. Meeting between Minister Seko and Minister Zhong

On October 26 (Fri.), 2018, Minister Seko held a meeting with Minister Zhong.

Both sides confirmed that the forum made great achievements concerning Japan-China cooperation in third countries and that they will continue to cooperate in this field to further advance related projects.

In addition, they agreed that they will promote exchanges among Japanese and Chinese companies and hold discussions on development of the environment concerning intellectual property and other issues, in order to discuss specific efforts for an innovation-creating cooperation program at the Japan-China Ministerial Dialogues on Industry to be established based on the above mentioned MOC. They also agreed on advancement of preparations for holding the first dialogue.

Moreover, they shared recognition on the importance of developing and sophisticating free and fair trade systems that observe rules concerning the WTO reform and recognition on the significance of executing leadership by Japan and China in RCEP negotiations. Following this, they agreed that Japan and China will cooperate in early and substantial conclusion of the RCEP negotiations.

Note: Based on the result of subsequent discussions, the dialogue was officially re-named "Japan-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue." Threfore, "Japan-China Innovation and Cooperation Dialogue" described in this press release shall be replaced with "Japan-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue."

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