Remarks by Her Excellency Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Reception for the Meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council

May 13, 2003


Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi handed the APEC Business Travel Card to the member of the ABAC Committee Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi
handed the APEC Business Travel Card
to the member of the ABAC Committee

Dr. Vip, ABAC Chair and Co-Chairs,
Mr.Takagaki, ABAC Japan Leader,
Honorable Members of the Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you having come all the way here to Tokyo for the Meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council, or ABAC. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of ABAC Japan and all those concerned who have worked so hard for this meeting.

I have been informed that the distinguished members of ABAC will discuss and agree the outline of the Recommendations this week that will be presented to the APEC Leaders Meeting held in Bangkok in October. Since APEC needs full engagement by the business sector in its activities, I do hope that the ABAC members will present their ideas positively and exchange views actively at the meeting in Tokyo, and continue to contribute to the growth of APEC member economies.

The endeavors that APEC has made so far are now bearing tangible fruits. One of the most remarkable fruits is the launch of APEC Business Travel Card, or ABTC, which we Government of Japan has also decided to join starting from this April. To commemorate this, I'd like to take this opportunity to hand over these brand-new cards to the three ABAC members of Japan, Mr Takagaki, Mr Kawamoto and Mr Yonemura, with Prime Minister's presence.

As trade and investment fields encompass many challenges, we should address new issues for which APEC members have keen interests, notably intellectual property rights, regional financial cooperation and Free Trade Agreements, which are gaining importance in Asia-Pacific region. Recognizing the importance of these issues, the Government of Japan and ABAC Japan are co-hosting a symposium in the afternoon of 16th May. I hope all of you will actively be able to participate and exchange ideas in the symposium.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are all aware that current conditions in the APEC region are not necessarily positive. APEC members should continue to assist each other in building its capacity to combat many difficulties in the course of sound development of economy. With the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Government of Japan has been extending assistance to other APEC economies to overcome SARS. There are also many issues we can fight against terrorism.

With active collaboration with you, ladies and gentlemen, I hope that APEC will continue to advance for prosperity of the region.

Before closing my remarks, let me propose this evening's toast to the success of ABAC Tokyo Meeting and to the health of all the guests present.


Thank you very much.

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