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 Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs