Japan ready to lead in building free and open Indo-Pacific

Japan ready to lead in building free and open Indo-Pacific

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan intends to take a leadership role in building a free and open Indo-Pacific, which will be the pillar for the prosperity of the region, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (pix) said.

“Japan will, together with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), aims to realise a sustainable economy and society that is resilient against all kinds of crises, where all people flourish and reap the benefit of economic growth,” he said.

The newly elected prime minister said this in his keynote address on the second day of the virtual Apec CEO Dialogues 2020 here today, in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum’s virtual summit meeting.

Echoing Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call, Suga said Japan will further deepen its cooperation with Apec economies in the business sector and contribute rigorously to the efforts of the forum.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin, in his keynote address at the dialogue, urged Apec economies to recognise that free and open trade and investment have indeed resulted in greater prosperity within the Asia-Pacific.

APEC is a crucial framework promoting the liberalisation of trade and investment and the strengthening of connectivity, in accordance with international rules, within the Asia-Pacific region, Suga said in his speech themed ‘Re-starting Asia Pacific Growth’.

“Apec’s strength comes from the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac), and recently I received Abac’s report to Apec Economic Leaders from Japan’s Abac members, reinforcing my view that digital transformation and innovation will be the key to economic prosperity in this region,“ he said.

Suga said making rules for a free and fair global economy is critically important, amidst a risk of inward-looking temptations in the face of the slump of the global economy.

Under the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust, he said Japan will take the lead in international rule-making related to digital trade, including in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) e-commerce negotiations that Japan co-chairs.

He said Japan aspires for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific through the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and the steady implementation and expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as next year’s chair.

The Apec CEO Dialogues Malaysia 2020 themed “Apec Re-Imagined: Priorities in the Aftermath of Covid-19,“ was conducted virtually and hosted by the ApecBusiness Advisory Council.

The event connects government and business leaders from across the 21 Apec member economies to discuss urgent issues facing the Asia-Pacific region and the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.-Bernama