News / Asia

    APEC Ministerial Meetings Kick Off Trade Discussions

    Police officers guard at a checkpoint to the enclosure of the APEC forum venue in Yokohama, near Tokyo as ministerial level meetings started in the day ahead of the Nov. 13-14 leaders' summit, 10 Nov 2010.
    Police officers guard at a checkpoint to the enclosure of the APEC forum venue in Yokohama, near Tokyo as ministerial level meetings started in the day ahead of the Nov. 13-14 leaders' summit, 10 Nov 2010.

    A multilateral free trade agreement and global economic imbalances will be at the top of the agenda when national leaders gather at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit later this week. APEC ministers already have begun laying the groundwork for those discussions.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Wednesday urged trade and foreign ministers gathered in Yokohama to focus on trade liberalization.

    He says what is important in economic diplomacy is the promotion of free trade. As the Asia-Pacific region takes a bigger role in the world economy, Maehara says, he would like to work with the delegates to build a freer economic and trade framework.

    Japan is the host of this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and there is increasing pressure for Tokyo to commit to a free trade agreement.

    Nine APEC countries, including the U.S. and Australia, hope to adopt a trade agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It proposes eliminating tariffs on goods from all nations involved within 10 years.

    Japan has never signed a multilateral trade pact but international relations Professor Takashi Terada with Tokyo's Waseda University says the country must take a leadership position on the issue.

    "A couple of the nations want to see more agriculture liberalization in Japan," Terada says, "The negotiations should be tougher. Japan, in particular the agriculture sector, is putting a lot of pressure on the government to not participate in it."

    Prime Minister Naoto Kan has already pushed forward with trade discussions, but he faces tough opposition from farmers concerned a deal could increase competition and drive down prices.

    In parliament this week, Mr. Kan lobbied for support on the discussions.

    He says Japan has fallen behind in the past decade, as other countries have pushed for free trade. He says he feels like open trade, along with a domestic push to revive the agriculture sector is critical.

    Mr. Kan also expected to discuss global economic imbalances with fellow leaders - following discussions at the G20 summit in Seoul.

    The U.S. wants G20 countries to reduce trade imbalances to 4 percent of their gross domestic product.

    The economic discussions come as political tensions between Japan and China continue to fester. Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain in September, after his ship rammed into a Coast Guard vessel off disputed islands Tokyo controls. China and Taiwan dispute Japan's claims to the islands.

    Wednesday the Japanese government said it had arrested a Coast Guard official for posting a video of the collision with the fishing boat.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that there are no plans for a Japan-China meeting at APEC, as of now.

    Terada says he is not optimistic about the prospects for talks, but he does not expect bilateral tensions to stall trade discussions with other countries. "Both nations, it seems to me have tried to avoid bringing bilateral problems into such a multilateral framework," he said.

    World leaders from all 21 APEC nations, including President Barack Obama, meet here on Saturday.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora