Asia-Pacific Forum 2009

Date September 24-25, 2009
Venue The Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi
1, Mansingh Road
New Delhi - 110 011
TEL: (91-11) 2302 6162
FAX: (91-11) 2302 6070
Sponsors 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
Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)
Fourth Floor, Core IV-B,
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003
TEL: (91-11) 2468 2177 /78 /79 /80
FAX: (91-11) 2468 2173 /74

Asia-Pacific Forum 2009
Asia-Pacific Forum 2009More Pictures

Topics"Under economic crises, how should Asia promote further economic integration?"


Session 1:" The financial and economic crisis and FTAs ? How can intra-regional export growth through FTAs help tackle the crisis?Presenters-Dr. DJISMAN Simandjuntak, Executive Director, Prasetiya Mulya Business School / Chairman, Board of Directors, CSIS Foundation
East Asian oasis of stability: Geographical re-balancing of trade
Transforming East Asia into an oasis of stability through deeper integration

-Mr. Noriyuki MITA, Director, Economic Partnership Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Japan
The Financial and Economic Crisis and FTAs

-Dr. Thomas G. AQUINO, Senior Undersecretary, Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Philippines
The financial and economic crisis and FTAs: How can intra-regional export growth through FTAs help tackle the crisis?
The financial and economic crisis and FTAs: How can intra-regional export growth through FTAs help tackle the crisis? (Word)

Discussant-Dr. Mignonne Man-jung CHAN, Senior Advisor, National Security Council
The Financial & Economic Crisis and FTAs: How can intra-regional export growth through FTAs help tackle the crisis?

Session 2: Asian FTAs in progress ? An introduction to EAFTA, CEPEA, and TPPPresenters-Prof. ZHANG Yunling, Director, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
East Asia FTA: Feasibility Perspective

-Dr. Shujiro URATA, Professor of International Economics, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University
Asian FTAs under Study: EAFTA and CEPEA

-Prof. Gary HAWKE, Emeritus Professor, Victoria University
Asian FTAs in Progress - An introduction to EAFTA, CEPEA and TPP
Asian FTAs in Progress - An introduction to EAFTA, CEPEA and TPP (Word)

Discussant-Mr. Hidetoshi NISHIMURA, Executive Director, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
ERIA's Activities

Session 3: What would be the future shape for regional economic integration in East Asia?Presenters-Mr. P.K. DASH, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India
Future shape of regional economic integration in east Asia

-Dr. Chulsu KIM, Chairman, Institute for Trade & Investment (ITI), Lee International / (Former Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea)
The Next Step in East Asian Economic Integration

-Dr. Hank LIM, Director for Research, Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA)
What would be the Future Shape for Regional Integration in East Asia?



Chairman's SpeechOpening Speech by Mr. Hatakeyama (September 24, 2009 @JEF-RIS International Symposium

The Honorable Dr. Shashi THAROOR, Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India, Dr. Arjun SENGUPTA, Chairman of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Dr. Biswajit DHAR, Director-General of RIS, and Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is my great honor and privilege to welcome all of you to the International Symposium, "Under economic crises, how should Asia promote further economic integration?"

In March 2003, the Japan Economic Foundation (JEF) organized the first international symposium on an East Asian Free Trade Area in Singapore in cooperation with the SIIA (Singapore Institute of International Affairs). Since then, the JEF has held this symposium for 7 consecutive years in cities like Bangkok, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur. Each year, the symposium has been held in a different host city and co-organized with a different partner country. However the theme--East Asian economic integration--has remained the same. And now, for this, the 8th year, the JEF has chosen this historical place as the host city, and has asked the RIS to serve as co-organizer. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to RIS for accepting to co-organize. At the same time, the JEF and the RIS have invited experts on this subject from all over the region.

Today's symposium is particularly significant in several ways.

First, this year's symposium is our first meeting since the global financial and economic crisis hit last year. To recover from this crisis, every country is required to do two things; namely, expand domestic demand and expand external demand. For the expansion of domestic demand, the majority of countries in this region have been implementing economic stimulus packages. For the expansion of external demand, I had originally thought that it would be a good idea for us to establish an FTA in this region, with the goal of lowering trade and investment barriers of partner countries in particular.
However, the issue doesn't seem to be so clear cut. I asked my colleagues at the JEF to compare exports to member countries with exports to non-member countries. Discovery out of this comparison is rather surprising. We found out that during this economic crisis, exports from FTA member countries and a Community to non-member countries dropped less than exports to member countries. For example, Thai exports to non-ASEAN countries declined 22.6% year on year during the first half of this year as compared to a 33.5% decline in Thai exports to ASEAN countries. The same thing happened with Germany, France and the UK in the EU. Furthermore the exports from the US and Canada declined less to non-members of the NAFTA than those to members.
As I mentioned, I had expected that an FTA would help exports to its members to expand more, or shrink less than exports to non-members even in economic crisis. Actually, however, what has happened in most FTA member countries is just the other way round. Why did this happen? Although further study is required to clarify things completely, I suspect one of the reasons may be that China and India, two growing global economic centers, are outside of the AFTA, the EU and the NAFTA. Accordingly, exports to China and India are counted as exports to non-members of those regional integrations. Therefore, if we can include both of these countries in our regional integration, we will share the benefits of their economic growth.
Secondly, the current world economic crisis has proven that high value added export items such as automobiles and electronics, as compared with daily necessities, are not necessarily more immune from export market recession. For example, China's export dependence ratio to GDP is almost two and half times larger than Japan's. Despite this, damage to Japan's GDP through export channels seems to be more serious than China's. Why? One answer is differences in the export structure. China's major export items are daily necessities, but Japan's are not.
In essence, high value items have been more vulnerable to the sudden decline in export market demand than necessities. This result is drawn from a study of Japan's situation. ASEAN member nations include more high value items among their major exports than China does.
Therefore, the sudden shrinkage of the US market had a direct impact on ASEAN exports. If it is the case, how can ASEAN members avoid a similar situation in the future?

Thirdly, on the institutional front of East Asian economic integration, the first phase of studies on the EAFTA and the CEPEA were completed in summer of this year. These two independent studies, one for ASEAN+3 and the other for ASEAN+6 were conducted by experts. Now, both studies have entered the second phase, which will be conducted at a governmental level. Therefore, today's symposium is a good opportunity for all of us to give some suggestions regarding these studies. Such suggestions can be also extended to a study on an APEC member FTA.

I hope these three points as well as others will be discussed during today's symposium.

Lastly, I am grateful to all the panelists with many of them coming from overseas to be participating in the symposium. And my gratitude will also extend to audience as well as, once again, RIS. It is my hope that all of you are able to enjoy a very fruitful discussion.

Thank you very much.