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METI Minister Seko Visits the Kingdom of Thailand

September 9, 2019

From September 7 (Sat.) to 8 (Sun.), 2019, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the Kingdom of Thailand to attend the 25th ASEAN Economic Minister (AEM) - METI Consultations and the Seventh Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting. Taking this opportunity, he held bilateral meetings each with: H.E. Mr. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines; H.E. Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore; H.E. Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand; H.E. Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India; and H.E. Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia. Moreover, he held a small group meeting with the ASEAN chair and other officials.

1. Twenty-fifth AEM-METI Consultations

Minister Seko proposed inauguration of the ASEAN-Japan Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Dialogue, a discussion opportunity for accelerating the ASEAN-Japan Fourth Industrial Revolution Initiative, which Japan suggested in 2018, and participating ASEAN economies welcomed the proposal. The Dialogue aims to provide opportunities to hold two-way discussions on measures for developing environments toward social implementation of digital innovations in Japan and ASEAN economies. Moreover, participating ministers shared the importance of keeping and enhancing tailor-made cooperation in human resource development and other fields.

Participating ministers welcomed the signing of the First Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Agreement and expressed their expectations for the enforcement of the protocol. Moreover, they shared recognition of the importance of a new international framework tailored to the WTO reform and digitalization.

2. Seventh RCEP Ministerial Meeting

Minister Seko attended the Seventh RCEP Ministerial Meeting held on September 8 and held discussions with other participating ministers concerning future approaches to advancing RCEP negotiations toward conclusion by the end of 2019. At the meeting, participating ministers confirmed the progress in the past negotiations and, based on this, held frank discussions on future approaches to advancing the negotiations toward conclusion by the end of 2019.

As a result of the discussions, they pledged to provide negotiators with the necessary resources and mandate to bring negotiations to a close so that such negotiators are able to smoothly be committed to a negotiation meeting in Da Nang to be held in late September 2019.

3. Bilateral meetings and other meeting

Aiming to hold discussions on approaches to advancing RCEP negotiations mainly at the seventh RCEP Ministerial Meeting, Minister Seko held bilateral meetings each with: Secretary Lopez, the Philippines; Minister Chan, Singapore; Deputy Prime Minister Jurin, Thailand; Minister Goyal, India; and Minister Birmingham, Australia. Moreover, he held a small group meeting with the ASEAN chair and other officials.

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