Press Statement

The Third Meeting on Malaysia-Japan Closer Economic Partnership
(The First Joint Study Group Meeting)

30 September 2003

The Third Meeting on Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) between Malaysia and Japan (The First Joint Study Group Meeting) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 29th and 30th September 2003. This is the follow-up of the two previous successful Working Group meetings between officials from both governments held in Tokyo, Japan from 8 - 9 May 2003 and in Langkawi, Malaysia from 4 - 5 July 2003. This First Joint Study Group Meeting emphasized on active participation and exchange of views on the CEP amongst the representatives from the business and private sectors as well as academicians from both countries.

The Japanese side was headed by Mr. Fumio Yawata, Director FTA/EPA Division, Economic Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the Malaysian side was headed by H.E. Dato' Muhammad Noh, Under Secretary East and South Asia Division of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Both sides exchanged views on a broad range of issues covering liberalization, facilitation and cooperation in trade and investment. These include specific consultations on trade in goods and services, rules of origin, investment, movement of natural persons, government procurement, customs procedures, paperless trading, standards and conformance, intellectual property, competition policy and business environment.

Both sides also discussed other areas of co-operation for consideration to be incorporated in the CEP. These include education, science and technology, human resources development, financial services, agriculture, primary commodities, forestry, minerals, handicrafts, information and communication technology, small and medium enterprises, entrepreneur development, broadcasting, tourism, transportation, health and research and development.

Both sides agreed that significant progress was achieved in the consultation process. The meeting also agreed to proceed to have another round of meeting from 20th - 21st November 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. Actual negotiations between the two sides to conclude the CEP will take place when mutually agreed, after the completion of this process.

Both sides shared the view that the CEP should result in mutual benefits to both countries and agreed to accelerate the process towards its realization.

The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere befitting the close and friendly relations that exist between the two countries. The Japanese delegation expressed their sincere gratitude to the Malaysian counterpart for the warm and special hospitality extended to them during their stay in Kuala Lumpur.

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