RP-Japan to Enter into an Economic Partnership accord.(Main News)

Manila Bulletin, May 21, 2002 | Go to article overview

RP-Japan to Enter into an Economic Partnership accord.(Main News)


Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING

TOKYO, Japan (Via PLDT) ? The Philippines and Japan will soon enter into an ?Economic Partnership Agreement? (EPA) that will bolster economic cooperation in the fields of information and communications technology, tourism, and human resource development.

Visiting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo received yesterday the assurance of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that they will venture into an EPA similar to the Japan-Singapore EPA signed this year.

In their meeting at the Prime Minister's residence here, President Arroyo pushed for an economic partnership with Japan as she expressed Japan's continuing economic leadership in the region largely because of its technology and financial capital.

On the second day of her working visit, Arroyo expressed interest in Mr. Koizumi's initiative in fostering closer economic cooperation with Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which the Philippines is a member.

"In recent months, Japan demonstrated an innovative approach in accelerating integration in East Asia through Economic Partnership Agreements or EPA with ASEAN countries," Arroyo said at the forum of Foreign Correspondent's Club of Japan here.

Japan, having the biggest economy in Asia, seeks to intensify economic cooperation with ASEAN countries to ensure the security of the region.

"We find the EPA an attractive initiative that could involve not just closer economic cooperation with ASEAN countries to ensure the security of the region. It could involve not just trade agreements but also other sectors of the economy like science and technology, tourism, human resource development, and investment promotion," she said after her 30-minute meeting with Koizumi.

According to acting Press Secretary Silvestre Afable who attended the closed-door meeting, Mr. Koizumi welcomed the enthusiasm shown by the Philippines in forging an economic partnership agreement with Japan.

"Yes, we will support that (Japan-Philippines EPA) and in fact, by November or towards the end of this year we will have more discussions. We will be inviting discussions on the idea of closer Japan-ASEAN cooperation," Afable quotedMr. Koizumi as saying.

Afable said the Philippines will be invited to discuss with Japan the identification of the principal development issues of the region in the 21st century and possibly the formation of EPAs with other interested ASEAN countries.

Afable said the proposed EPA between Japan and the Philippines is "stronger and more focused" than the existing broad economic cooperation agreed upon by the two countries.

Under the EPA of Japan and Singapore, the two countries agreed to facilitate trade and to have cooperation, particularly exchanges in science and technology, ICT, human resources development, and tourism.

In her earlier keynote speech at the 8th International Conference on "The Future of Asia: Emerging China and the Changing Regional Framework" at Hotel Otani here, the President noted that Japan is central to the future of the Philippines and integral to East Asia region's.

She noted that Japan led East Asia economic transformation during the latter part of the 20th century.

The President expressed full confidence in Japan's full economic recovery as it steadily rises from a widescale recession.

Japan is embarking on major industrial reforms and fiscal restructuring and its success is crucial to the regional and global economy of the 21st century, she said.

"I believe Japanese economic leaders, coupled with China's emerging market and revived US economy will be the engines of growth for our region," she said. …

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