Asia-Pacific Forum 2008

Date October 30-31, 2008
Asia-Pacific Forum 2008Asia-Pacific Forum 2008
Venue Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
P.O. Box 10905
50088 Kuala Lumpur
TEL: (603) 2380 8888
FAX: (603) 2380 8833
Co-hosted Japan Economic Foundation(JEF)
Jiji Press Bldg. 11F, 5-15-8 Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
TEL: (81-3) 5565-4824
FAX: (81-3) 5565-4828
Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia
No. 1, Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin P O Box 12424
50778 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TEL:(603) 2693 9366
FAX:(603) 2691 5435

Topics"EAFTA, CEPEA, FTAAP and beyond"

Session 1: Stocktaking of Bilateral and Regional FTAs in Asia-Pacific Region

Session 2: The Progress and Outlook of EAFTA, CEPEA, and FTAAP

Session 3: Issues Beyond FTAs in East Asia, Including Possibility of ASEM FTA and Global Warming



Chairman's SpeechOpening remarks by Mr. Hatakeyama (October 30, 2008 @JEF-ISIS International Symposium

The Honorable Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan, Chairman and CEO, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia, H.E. Mr. Masahiko Horie, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia, Dr. Mahani Zainal Abidin, Director General, ISIS Malaysia, Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen:
It is my great honor and privilege to welcome all of you to the International Symposium, "EAFTA, CEPEA, FTAAP and beyond".

In March 2003, JEF organized the first international symposium on East Asian Free Trade Area in Singapore with the cooperation of SIIA (Singapore Institute of International Affairs). Since then JEF held this symposium in Bangkok, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta and Beijing respectively with the cooperation of a think tank or university of each country, focusing on the future prospects of an East Asian Economic Partnership. This year we have asked ISIS Malaysia to co-host this symposium and ISIS Malaysia kindly accepted this.

Since JEF started this symposium five and a half years ago, there have been noticeable changes taking place in East Asia in terms of regional economic integration. In particular, with the recent breakdown of Doha Development Round, the momentum towards regional or bi-lateral economic arrangements has been intensified.

As we all are aware, there are three proposals on the table for discussions on East Asian or Asia Pacific economic integrations;
1) East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) proposed by China, consisting ASEAN +3
2) Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) proposed by Japan, consisting of ASEAN +6
3) Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) proposed by the United States.
What would be the relationship between the EAFTA, CEPEA and FTAAP?
I hope that at this symposium we will discuss this issue.

In addition to this, we would like to broaden our horizons toward a possible region to region economic integration.
Last year Korea started negotiations with the EU on possible Korea-EU FTA. If this will have been agreed and implemented, all Asian goods except Korean's will be discriminated in the EU market as compared to Korean goods unless ASEAN-EU FTA will have been completed. Of course even in this case, Japanese and Chinese goods are discriminated in the EU market as compared to Korean or ASEAN goods. To solve this issue, perhaps it is an interesting idea to explore a possibility to start a study for ASEM FTA. It will make a good balance with the study for APEC FTA I mentioned above.

Thirdly, as financial turmoil which started from the US has increasingly become globalized including Asia. If you recall the great depression back in 1929 and early 30's, the financial crisis led to blocked economies worldwide and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in the US. Therefore we have to be extremely careful so that this financial turmoil will not bring about trade and investment protectionism.
Last but not the least, it will be useful if we can discuss global warming issue whose new stage after the Kyoto Protocol will start from 2013. In the case of the Montreal Protocol which has been addressing Freon gas, import restriction has been introduced against non-participating countries in the Protocol. Should we consider to introduce trade measures against non-participating countries in the Post Kyoto Protocol? Or should we come up with the idea to solicit every country to participate?
I would like to introduce my personal, very provocative idea on this later at the 3rd session to stimulate our discussion.

On this note, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan, and Dr. Mahani of ISIS Malaysia, all the distinguished speakers and the panelists and you, the participants for making this symposium realized. In particular, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to The Honorable Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia for delivering the keynote speech immediately after my remarks. I sincerely feel grateful that he accepted our invitation despite his hectic schedule.
Finally, I would also like to thank all staff of ISIS Malaysia, which has greatly contributed to this symposium. I wish all of you an interesting and fruitful discussion.
Thank you very much.

Now I would like to declare the symposium starts.