Address by Mr. Eisuke HINODE Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the Symposium co-organized by the Government of Japan and ABAC Japan

May 16, 2003

I am very pleased to address to you at the symposium co-organized by the Government of Japan and ABAC Japan. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to ABAC Japan and those who made contribution to organize this symposium.

APEC has been making a unique and wide-ranged contribution for liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, supported by ECOTECH activities with interdisciplinary cooperation. APEC develops regional cooperation between worldwide cooperation such as WTO and bilateral cooperation such as FTA. In East Asia, regional cooperation in the framework of ASEAN+3 has become active recently. But, the stability and development of East Asia are to be realized through the promotion of cooperation with America, Oceania and Russia, which have close relations with East Asia. In this respect, APEC is an indispensable framework for East Asia including Japan. Worldwide cooperation is fundamentally important, but in order to complement and deepen it, Japan intends to make use of each framework of cooperation in a multi-layered way.

We consider that APEC has several important merits. First, APEC can bridge bilateral and regional cooperation with worldwide cooperation. Second, interdisciplinary approach including ECOTECH activities of APEC enables us to discuss various issues and promote policy in a comprehensive way. Third, APEC ensures systematic involvement of Ministers and Leaders of the region. Fourth, as it is evident in today's symposium, APEC has the framework of close cooperation with private sector, ABAC.

Today, we take up financial cooperation issue in the first session and intellectual property right protection in the second session. It is very timely to discuss how to promote multi-layered cooperation in these two important areas. Japan attaches high priority to cooperation in these two areas, as they are an indispensable element for stabilization and development of the economy in the region. Experts in these areas made great contribution to organizing the symposium today, which also demonstrates how wide issues APEC cooperation encompasses.

In the third session, we will discuss Free Trade Agreement (FTA)/ Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). FTA/EPAs began to spread not only in America, but also in Asia. I hope the participants will have frank and constructive discussion on the implication of proliferation of FTA/EPAs in the region and challenges we face.

Let me conclude my remarks wishing for a success of the symposium.

Thank you.

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