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JETRO organizes East Asia Supply Chain Symposium

September 2013

JETRO co-organized the East Asia Supply Chain Symposium with the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013.

The world is embarking on an age of mega free trade agreements (FTAs). In East Asia, for example, there are negotiations on region-wide FTAs such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Japan-China-Korea FTA. Meanwhile, companies have constructed production networks across the entire region.

In this symposium speakers and panelists, joined by experts invited from China and Korea, discussed economic integration and business activities in this region. In Part 1, three researchers from Japan, China and Korea made presentations and discussed under the topic of "Supply Chains and FTA Policies in East Asia." In Part 2, companies of Japan and Korea talked and discussed under the theme of "Enhanced Supply Chains and Business Strategies in East Asia."

Realizing a high-level Japan-China-Korea FTA

In his opening address in the symposium, Mr. Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of JETRO, stated that "what is most essential now is to accelerate negotiations related to the Japan-China-Korea FTA and realize a high-level FTA" and that "conclusion of such an agreement will become a driving force for the RCEP, add further momentum to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) and serve as a key for our three countries to take the initiative in trade liberalization in the Asia Pacific region. Following the Japanese organizer, the Korean counterpart, Mr. Hyuk Chung, KOTRA Regional Director General for Japan, noted that "FTAs in East Asia will play an important role to advance supply chains in this region and boost the regional trade of consumer goods."

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Mr. Chung, KOTRA Regional Director General for Japan

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Mr. Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO of JETRO

Discussing what form FTAs in East Asia should take and how they will impact business

In Part 1, entitled "Supply Chains and FTA Policies in East Asia," first Mr. Daisuke Hiratsuka, Executive Vice President of JETRO and the moderator of this panel, outlined the change in theories related to supply chains and FTAs in East Asia. Following the moderator's introduction, Dr. Ikuo Kuroiwa, Senior Research Fellow and Director-General of the Development Study Center, Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO), explained the results of analysis on mutual dependency among Japan, China and Korea using the concept of "value-added trade." From Korea, Dr. Jung Sung Chun, Director of the Department of International Economy, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KEIP), and from China, Dr. Xiangyang Li, Director of Asia Pacific Global Strategy Research, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, gave brief explanations about the FTA policies of their respective countries. Based on these keynote presentations, participants, including audience members, discussed how FTAs in East Asia should be and the outlook of policy by China and Korea related to region-wide FTAs.

In Part 2, entitled "Enhanced Supply Chains and Business Strategies in East Asia," first Mr. Tadayuki Nagashima, Executive Vice President of JETRO and the moderator of the panel, spoke at the beginning session, stating that "region-wide expansion of corporate supply chains are seen ahead of the institutional frameworks of FTAs." Next, Mr. Yoichi Miyazaki, President of Toshiba Electronics Korea, showed how the business of his company has expanded due to the rapid growth of Korean companies in the global market. Mr. Takahiko Yasuhara, General Manager of the Seoul Branch of Mizuho Bank, made a presentation about the mutually complementary relationship between Japanese and Korean companies and their cooperation in third countries. Lastly, Mr. Jae Chang Ryu, Team Leader of the Sourcing and Alliance Team, LG Electronics Japan, gave a brief explanation about the supply chain strategy of his company. Based on these reports by the panelists, discussions were conducted regarding the forecast of the Chinese and Korean economies and impact the formation of region-wide FTAs has on business activities.

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Panel discussion Part 1

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Panel discussion Part 2

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Audience of the symposium