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ATPF Working Level Meeting in Saga
Largest-ever number of participants from 24 countries and regions

June 2014

On June 5 and 6, JETRO hosted the Asian Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) Working Level Meeting in Saga, a prefecture in the western Japanese island of Kyushu, with 40 participants from organizations in 24 countries and regions.

The forum was established in 1987 at the advocacy of JETRO with the objective of enhancing trade in Asia through information exchange, implementation of cooperative projects and strengthening networks among ATPF members. Currently 24 countries and regions have joined the forum. The Working Level Meeting (WLM) is held annually and this was the first time in 16 years that participants from all ATPF member organizations took part. Discussions proceeded under subjects which included support for business partnership among regional industrial clusters. A meeting of the ATPF Exhibition Industry Committee (AEIC) and the Investment Working Group were also organized during the same period.


Scene of the meeting

WLM in Saga where JETRO's new office has just been established

To introduce ATPF members to the allure of rural regions in Japan, JETRO has recently been holding the WLM in a different provincial city every year and this year's WLM was held in Saga City, where JETRO's 39th office has just opened in April.

On the first day, under the full support of Saga Prefecture, JETRO and the prefecture co-organized a networking event where Governor Yasushi Furukawa delivered a welcome message. People from local companies and foreign students living in the prefecture joined the event to actively exchange information and build human networks with the ATPF members. In addition, specialty products of the region such as ceramics and woodworks were gifted from Saga Prefecture to the participants. In the "Saga Omotenashi (hospitality) Tour" organized by the prefecture, the ATPF members visited the Saga Castle History Museum and enjoyed a balloon flight and a hot spring. Great appreciation was expressed from the participants.


Governor Furukawa and a participant from Mongolia at the networking reception


Networking reception

Discussions over business tie-ups and investment between industrial clusters

In the session regarding regional business matching, a speaker from the Saga Prefectural Government, who is in charge of the matching between Karatsu City and France, made a presentation concerning the Karatsu Cosmetics Initiative and the project supported by JETRO's Regional Industry Tie-up (RIT) Program between industrial clusters. A company in Kitakyushu, which is conducting a project to install bio-toilets in Hai Phong in Vietnam, reported its business experience with Vietnam, benefits from inter-regional exchange and details of its own success story. This was the first opportunity for private companies currently involved in business tie-ups between industrial clusters to present at the ATPF meeting. Favorable comments were provided by the participants, such as "the presentations were interesting and informative."

Since 2012, ATPF members had exchanged information and discussed topics related to investment promotion activities at an unofficial and voluntary working group. Given the fact that trade and investment are inseparably related to the development of regional economy, at this ATPF meeting it was resolved to adopt an official session on investment from the next WLM in 2015. The meeting also approved a proposal to enhance cooperation in sharing information about investment deals between trade promotion organizations.

Experiencing the allure of Saga Prefecture in the post-event tour

After the meeting, Saga Prefecture organized a post-event tour to visit industrial sites. At the Kyushu Ceramic Museum, the delegates broadened their knowledge about the history of ceramics in the Kyushu region. In the Fukagawa Seiji China on the Park facility, the delegation learned about one case of a local industry being utilized as a resource for tourism through observing the porcelain making process. At the Taiken Kobo Rokuroza Studio, they tried overglaze painting on Arita-made biscuit ware plates under the cooperation of the town of Arita. With positive feedback from the participants, including comments such as "I was impressed by the design and quality of pottery in Saga," the tour offered a valuable opportunity to expand the allure of Saga around Asia.


Visit to Kyushu Ceramic Museum


Overglaze painting at Taiken Kobo Rokuroza Studio

CEO Meetings in Mongolia in 2014 and Sri Lanka in 2015

ATPF Working Level Meetings are positioned as preparatory sessions for CEO Meetings in which heads of trade promotion organizations gather annually. Based on the discussions at this WLM in Saga, the next CEO Meeting will be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia later this year. The CEO Meeting in 2015 is scheduled for August following a WLM in Japan.

Outline of 23rd ATPF Working Level Meeting

Organizer/secretariat Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Date June 5 - 6, 2014 (Industrial tour: June 6)
Venue Saga Prefecture
Participant organizations AUSTRADE: Australian Trade Commission
CCPIT: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
CITEM: Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Philippines)
DGNED: the Directorate General of National Export Development (Indonesia)
DITP: Department of International Trade Promotion (Thailand)
DTP: The Department of Trade Promotion (Myanmar)
EPB: Export Promotion Bureau (Bangladesh)
FNCCI: Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry
HKTDC: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
IE Singapore: International Enterprise Singapore
IPIM: Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute
ITPO: India Trade Promotion Organisation
JETRO: Japan External Trade Organization
KOTRA: Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency
MATRADE: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation
MIPR: Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (Brunei)
MNCCI: Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Mongolia)
NZTE: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
SLEDB: Sri Lanka Export Development Board
TDAP: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan
TPD: Trade Promotion Department (Cambodia)
TPPD: Trade and Product Promotion Development (Laos)
TWTC: Taipei World Trade Center
VIETRADE: Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency