SINGAPORE, 7 July 2017 – The 10th Dialogue between Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN, and the Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA), was held today in Singapore.  The FJCCIA was represented by Takuhiko Tochiori, Chairman of the FJCCIA and the Presidents of the respective Japanese Chambers of Commerce in the ASEAN region. The dialogue serves as a forum for Japanese businesses to be updated on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and this year it focused on issues related to trade facilitation and trade in services.

In his keynote speech, SG Minh highlighted that Japan is ASEAN’s third largest trading partner with total trade of USD 221.7 billion in 2016.  Japan was also the second largest external source of Foreign Direct Investment for ASEAN in 2016, at USD 14 billion. He stressed that substantive progress has been made under the ASEAN-Japan 10-year Strategic Economic Cooperation Roadmap which includes areas of cooperation covering the development of Small and Medium Enterprises and cooperatives, science and technology, healthcare, logistics and transportation, information and communication technologies, education, human resources development and tourism.

The dialogue noted key developments in the trade facilitation agenda in ASEAN, including new mandates for the development of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Indicators, the development of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Strategic Plan 2017-2025, and the target of 10% reduction in trade transaction costs by 2020. Further, the dialogue welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Framework in 2016, as well as the reconvening of the ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC) and the opportunity to participate in ATF-JCC Meetings.

With respect to the Coordinating Committee on Services, the dialogue noted the latest development and discussed the various inputs pertaining to the integration of services in ASEAN, including on the liberalisation of services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services, negotiations on the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement, as well as the implementation of the Mutual Recognition Arrangements and ASEAN Agreement on Movement of Natural Persons.

The dialogue was preceded by a symposium on “Future of ASEAN and Japan – Toward Free Trade Promotion” held on 6 July to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN as well as the 10th anniversary of the dialogue between the Secretary-General of ASEAN and FJCCIA. It was attended by 300 Japanese private sectors who run their businesses in the ASEAN region.