APEC Leaders’ Meeting
On November 13–14, the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held in Yokohama as the final stage of APEC Japan 2010, under the theme of “Change and Action.” The leaders issued a Leaders’ Declaration, titled “The Yokohama Vision—Bogor and Beyond,” articulating the vision of further building and integrating the Asia-Pacific region in the twenty-first century and the paths to realize that vision.
The Bogor Goals and Beyond
Prime Minister Naoto Kan (center) and fellow APEC leaders share the stage in Yokohama.
The Yokohama Vision states, “Through our individual and collective efforts toward achieving the Bogor Goals, the Asia-Pacific region has achieved substantial reductions in barriers to trade and investment. These efforts have led to increased trade and investment flows, sustained economic growth, and a vast improvement in the welfare of people in the region. We are confident that APEC is well on track toward achieving the goal of free and open trade and investment among its economies.”
Ambassador for International Affairs Shigeru Nakamura of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who co-chaired the preceding (November 7–8) Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), noted that leaders assessed that APEC economies have made significant progress toward achieving the Bogor Goals. They also shared the recognition that still more work remains to be done, so increased effort is needed for the goal to be achieved.”
Japan’s initiatives at APEC 2010 were in the assessment of progress toward achieving the Bogor Goals and putting forward proposals for regional economic integration, according to Ambassador Nakamura. “Based on the leaders’ assessment for progress toward achieving the Bogor Goals, Japan offered a concept for ‘regional economic integration’ with the view that APEC members should concentrate on the measures for evolving and expanding trade in the region, to advance them to the next stage.”
According to Director-General for International Trade Policy Hidehiko Nishiyama of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, who co-chaired the SOM with Ambassador Nakamura, “As each APEC economy has been pursuing the Bogor Goals since 1994, it was very hard for all concerned to achieve a common view. However, an effort for the agreement was made and this effort became a milestone for APEC. This is why the subtitle ‘Bogor and Beyond’ was added to the joint declaration’s main title, ‘The Yokohama Vision.’”
Prime Minister Kan addresses the press at the close of APEC Japan 2010.
Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who chaired the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, expressed his views on the Yokohama Vision at a press conference after the meeting.
“The Yokohama Vision is aimed at making the region’s economic growth even more sustainable, so that it will provide greater traction to the world economy. To that end, we agreed on several points. One major item among them is to take concrete steps toward realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).”
On the subject of the FTAAP, Ambassador Nakamura said, “An FTAAP should be pursued as a comprehensive free trade agreement by developing and building on ongoing regional undertakings such as ASEAN +3, +6 and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, among others, spreading across the Asia-Pacific region.”
The Yokohama Vision further states, “We envision an Asia-Pacific region that can embrace and overcome challenges and make full use of opportunities to be more fully integrated, with a higher quality of growth and a safer and more secure economic environment. We seek to develop an APEC community in which trade and investment are freer and more open; supply-chains are better connected; doing business is cheaper, faster, and easier; growth is more balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure; and we are better able to cope with threats to human security and economic activity.”
The APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy
For the first time in the twenty-one year history of APEC, leaders set forth the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy. Director-General Nishiyama explains the process in formulating the Strategy and its background.
“APEC has been working on promoting liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in the region. Recently, however, the world’s economic circumstances have changed, now comprising such issues as the current-account imbalance, constraint of energy resources, and regional divides. Without developing a growth strategy, even the achievement of the original goal of APEC has become difficult. With such an understanding, the need to plot a comprehensive long-term strategy was agreed at APEC 2009 in Singapore, where leaders shared the recognition that the strategy should be discussed and drawn up at APEC 2010.”
The section of the Yokohama Vision titled “Path toward a robust community” states, “We will implement the Growth Strategy out to 2015, focusing on the five desired attributes of balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth. Our Growth Strategy includes an Action Plan that encompasses work elements on structural reform; human resource and entrepreneurship development; green growth; a knowledge-based economy; and human security.”
The Vision also states, “The Action Plan will be supported and promoted through specific programs that draw in all aspects of APEC’s work, including sectoral Ministerial meetings, committees, APEC sub-fora, extensive regional networks of experts, and APEC’s close cooperation with the business community. We will work with other international fora, including the G20, to realize the Growth Strategy. We will review our progress toward implementing the Growth Strategy in 2015.”
Director-General Nishiyama noted, “By promoting the Growth Strategy, we will see the progress being made toward liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment, which is the core mission of APEC. As a result, this process will link to the economic growth of the region and have synergetic effects both on economic growth and the APEC core mission.”
At the press conference after the Leaders’ Meeting, Prime Minister Kan expressed his appreciation to all APEC members and said, “I think this APEC meeting will be a new page in the history of APEC and also a new page for Japan, as well.”
You can see PM Naoto Kan’s commitment and leadership at APEC JAPAN 2010 on Prime Minister KAN’s TV.
APEC Ministerial Meeting
Ahead of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting, the 22nd APEC Ministerial Meeting was held in Yokohama on November 10–11, co-chaired by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara (photo, left) and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akihiro Ohata (photo, right). Foreign ministers and trade ministers joined the meeting from twenty-one APEC economies and released both a Joint Statement and a Statement on Advancing WTO Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and Resisting Protectionism.
On the DDA, bearing in mind that 2011 will be a critically important “window of opportunity,” ministers reaffirmed their “resolve to achieve a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the negotiations as promptly as possible, consistent with the Doha mandates, built on the progress achieved, including with regard to modalities.”
Ministers also agreed to recommend their leaders “to re-extend their commitment on standstill made in 2008, to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing WTO-inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports, until the end of 2013.”
On the subject of Human Security, ministers agreed that holding of the First Ministerial Meeting on Food Security represented a significant advancement. Issues such as anti-terrorism, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of pandemic potential, and disaster management will be discussed on an annual basis. As Ambassador for International Economic Affairs Shigeru Nakamura explained, “Discussions were made on the sustainability of food production and price, orderly investment in food production, and so on. These issues will be discussed continuously in the APEC framework. This trend is also one of Japan’s initiatives for Human Security.”
APEC Japan Experience
On November 6–14, on the sidelines of the APEC meetings in Yokohama, the Japanese government held a special exhibition, “Japan Experience—Ideas into Reality,” at the Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall. The event provided the opportunity for delegates and media personnel from the twenty-one APEC Member Economies to see, touch and feel “Japan’s strengths,” namely its world-leading technologies.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku tests out a personal mobility vehicle at the opening of the Japan Experience exhibition.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku said, “It is, without doubt, our craftsmanship which lies behind our world-class products, Japanese craftsmen’s skills being quite subtle and sensitive. I hope many people from overseas will come to understand the thinking behind Japanese craftsmanship at this exhibition.”
Japan Experience comprised three parts: the Gallery, where visitors could experience Japan’s cutting-edge technologies contributing to resolving economic and social problems, and to realizing prosperous communities and lives; the Guesthouse, displaying Japan’s manufacturing power to generate unique functions and novel designs; and the Garden, which provided a space for relaxation integrating Japan’s traditions and state-of-the-art technologies.
Many visitors came to experience “Japan’s strengths” as hoped, often expressing surprise and joy in doing so.
Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Yoshihiro Katayama (front row, center left) and Vice-Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Tadahiro Matsushita (front row, center right) chaired TELMIN 8 in Nago, Okinawa.
On October 30–31, the 8th APEC Ministerial Meeting on the Telecommunications and Information Industry (TELMIN 8) was held in Okinawa. Ministers from APEC economies released a joint statement, the “Okinawa Declaration,” with the title “ICT as an Engine for New Socio-economic Growth.”
Among the points agreed, the Declaration states, “We recognize that the development of a ubiquitous network society realized by advances in ICT leads to shared benefits and encourages general economic and social growth in the Asia-Pacific region.” Accordingly, the ministers endorsed the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group’s (TEL) Strategic Action Plan to advance its work focusing on the following areas: develop ICT to promote new growth; enhance socio-economic activities through the use of ICT; and promote regional economic integration.
Shoji Mihara, director of the Multilateral Economic Affairs Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, explains Japan’s contribution to the meeting.
“Under the recognition that ICT contributes to economic growth, the Japanese government proposed the new goal, “Next generation high speed broadband by 2020,” which is to expand and improve ICT infrastructure, following the goals for the Internet or broadband set in the past meeting. And this was agreed by the ministers at the meeting.”
Another hot issue was that of IP addresses. On this point, the Okinawa Declaration states, “We recognize that the free pool of IPv4 addresses is expected to be exhausted around 2012. We support the IPv6 Guidelines developed by TEL.”
Mihara explains, “IPv6 is now progressively diffusing in Japan. We are now accumulating technology and know-how in IPv6. Japan, in both government and private sectors, is ready to cooperate with other economies’ transition to IPv6.”
Enhancing Socio-Economic Activities
The Declaration also notes, “We welcome the proposed ‘Smart ICT Application Initiative’ aimed at delivering positive socioeconomic outcomes in various areas, including the environment, emergency response, medicine, education, energy efficiency and administrative services.”
Kenjiro Suzuki, director for International Affairs at the Information Policy Division of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, says, “The Japanese government proposed the ‘Enhance Socio-Economic Activities through the Use of ICT’ initiative for the purpose of dialogue based on recognition of the direction of the core of TEL or TELMIN discussions, from infrastructure to practical utilization. We considered more policy discussions to be useful for the purpose of leveraging best practice.”
Weighing the situation for each APEC member economy, TELMIN will commit to continuous discussion both on infrastructure development and use of ICT with a view to promoting the sustainable growth of the region.
APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting
Minister of Finance Yoshihiko Noda chaired the Finance Ministers’ Meeting.
From November 5 to 6, the 17th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting was held in Kyoto under the chairmanship of Japan’s Minister of Finance Yoshihiko Noda. In attendance were the finance ministers from the APEC economies, the president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the senior management of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
The main fruit of the meeting was the release of the Kyoto Report on Growth Strategy and Finance.
The Report has identified priorities for securing future growth; namely, rebalancing and strengthening global demand, pursuing sound fiscal management, and enhancing finance to key sectors such as infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, households and green investment.
Ensuring sound fiscal management and instituting a credible and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation plan form an indispensable part of the growth strategy. In order to overcome the challenges brought about by aging, finance ministers agreed to the importance of enhancing productivity of the working population.
The Report also covers actions related to “infrastructure finance,” “SME (small and medium enterprise) finance,” “financial inclusion,” namely “recent innovations in extending financial services to the underserved,” and “green finance,” which can play a strong and effective role in facilitating growth while addressing global warming.
With regard to infrastructure finance, Minister Noda announced that Japan has decided to provide support of up to twenty-five million U.S. dollars for the next five years in order to promote trade facilitation through the ADB.
Ministers submitted the Kyoto Report to the leaders as a key contribution to the discussion of the APEC Leaders’ Growth Strategy. Leaders quoted the Report and concluded, “We must take steps to build a foundation for stronger, more sustainable and more balanced growth in the future.”