1. The Economic Ministers of ASEAN, Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand had a productive exchange of views on the areas of cooperation within the East Asia Summit (EAS) framework.
2. The Ministers welcomed the establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) with the Inaugural Governing Board Meeting of ERIA held at the ASEAN Secretariat on 3 June 2008. The Ministers also welcomed the research activities of ERIA and looked forward to ERIA’s practical policy recommendations for deepening economic integration, narrowing development gaps and sustainable development. In particular, the Ministers noted with appreciation the ERIA East Asia Industrial Corridor Project for the region-wide comprehensive development, affirming the importance of linking the infrastructure development and industrial development planning. The Ministers also expressed interests in the ERIA Energy Outlook which demonstrates the importance of enhancing energy efficiency for sustainable development. The Ministers agreed to report the outcome of ERIA’s activities to the EAS Leaders.
3. The Ministers also discussed current regional and international policy issues such as the increase in the energy and foods prices and its impact on the region. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed Japan’s proposal to host the symposium on the energy and food security in cooperation with ERIA.
4. The Ministers noted the report of the Track Two Study Group on Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA), which shows greater potential trade and GDP growth if enhanced integration among EAS members is achieved. Consistent with the request of Leaders, the Ministers agreed to convey the report to Leaders at the 4th East Asia Summit (EAS). The Ministers also agreed to a Phase II Track II Study on CEPEA, detailing the pillars of economic cooperation, facilitation and liberalisation as well as institutional developments.
5. The Ministers acknowledged that substantial progress was made during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Mini-Ministerial in July and members came very close to agreement. However, there are still outstanding issues before modalities in Agriculture and Non-Agriculture Market Access (NAMA) can be resolved. The Ministers agreed that all economies must work together to preserve what has been achieved to date, and to show constructive and continued engagement to conclude the Round. The Ministers also agreed that a strong and equitable global rules-based trading system is necessary for continued growth. The Ministers also stressed the importance of concluding the round to achieve development objectives and to respond effectively to the global financial and food crisis. The Ministers committed to intensify efforts in the coming weeks to resume negotiations and achieve convergence in the remaining areas before the window of opportunities closes.
6. The Ministers supported WTO DG Pascal Lamy’s efforts to bridge gaps among the key economies and his call on these economies to show political commitment and flexibility to work towards a balanced and ambitious outcome. The Ministers agreed that it is important to ensure the integrity of the multilateral trading system, and that work on the remaining areas of the single undertaking should resume in Geneva even as modalities in Agriculture and NAMA are being worked out.
LIST OF MINISTERS
- Hon. Simon Crean, Minister for Trade, Australia
- H.E. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam
- H.E. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia
- H.E. Chen Jian, Vice Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.
- H.E. Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India
- H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade, Indonesia
- H.E. Toshihiro Nikai, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
- H.E. Mr. Kim Jong-Hoon, Minister for Trade of the Republic of Korea
- H.E. Nam Viyaketh, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
- H.E. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
- H.E. U Soe Tha, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar
- Hon. Phil Goff, Minister of Trade, New Zealand
- H.E. Peter B. Favila, Secretary of Trade and Industry, the Philippines
- H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore
- H.E. Pichet Tanchareon, Deputy Minister of Commerce, Thailand
- (representing H.E. Chaiya Sasomsub, Minister of Commerce, Thailand)
- H.E. Nguyen Cam Tu, Vice Minister, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam
- (representing H.E. Vu Huy Hoang, Minister of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam)
- H.E. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN