ATPF Working-Level Meeting in Tochigi

July 2017

From July 13 to 14, 2017, JETRO held the 26th Asia Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) Working-Level Meeting in Utsunomiya, Tochigi. It was joined by 29 people from 23 countries and regions.

Reporting on activities through utilizing ATPF network

During the meeting, opinions were given on the upcoming 30th ATPF CEO Meeting and discussions took place on adding new life to activities based on the ATPF network and the role of trade promotion organizations (TPOs) in regional revitaliztion. Each TPO shared its most successful practices and introduced examples of activities it has conducted based on the ATPF network, such as a support program for e-commerce – which is also the theme of one of the sectional meetings of the CEO Meeting – by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and the role of a new design center created by the Directorate General of National Export Development (DGNED), Indonesia. Extensive questions and a lively discussion took place regarding e-commerce, indicating great interest in the field among member countries.

ATPF Working-Level Meeting

Group discussion as new meeting format

This year’s Working Level Meeting adopted a new group discussion format. Four topics - "the future orientation of the ATPF as a whole," "e-commerce," "cultivation of human resources" and "new topics for the sectoral meeting" - were individually discussed in separate groups. The format, which allowed participants from each TPO to easily engage in frank exchanges of views and make suggestions, was particularly beneficial in terms of reaffirming the importance of the ATPF network.

Scene of venue

Group discussion

Group discussion

Information exchange with Governor of Tochigi

Since 2011, JETRO has held the ATPF Working-Level Meeting in key areas outside of major cities in order to make the allures of the Japanese countryside known to other Asian countries through the forum members. This ATPF Working-Level Meeting was held in Utsunomiya where JETRO’s 42nd domestic office was set up in April 2015. The networking session, which was held on the first day of the meeting, was joined by Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda, Prefectural Assembly Chairman Mikio Kobayashi and numerous business people and foreign students. It proved to be a wonderful opportunity for exchange between members of the Working-Level Meeting and the guests. The session began with the ceremonial breaking of a sake cask, referred to as kagami biraki in Japanese, and culinary delights made from a plethora of ingredients produced in Tochigi were served for all members and guests.

Greetings by Governor Fukuda

Ceremony of kagami biraki

Network session

Experiencing Tochigi’s charm through industrial tour

With the aim of introducing local industries to the members, an industrial tour of the area was held after the meeting. At the first destination, the Oya History Museum, members saw an underground mining field where Oya stone is mined around the town of Oya, Ustunomiya. They heard an explanation on how the mining field has contributed to the development of mining technology and new business. At the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they were able to enrich their understanding of industrial tourism utilizing a region’s heritage resources. Their last destination was the Bandai Museum, where they learned the history of the “toy town” of Mibu in Shimotsuga County, home to a number of Japanese toy makers and toy-related companies. The excursion was praised by the attendees, including by one who said it was a chance to "reach out and feel the allure of Tochigi."

Oya History Museum

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Bandai Museum

Outline of meeting

Date Thursday, July 13 and Friday, July 14, 2017
Place Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Organizer and secretariat Japan External Trade Organization (Asia Support Team, Industry and Business Development Support Division) 
Participant TPOs Australian Trade Commission (AUSTRADE)
China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)
Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)
Directorate General of National Export Development (DGNED), Indonesia
Department of International Trade Promotion of Thailand (DITP), Thailand
Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI)
General Department of Trade Promotion (GDTP), Cambodia
Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)
International Enterprise Singapore (IE Singapore)
Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM)
India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO)
Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO)
Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency Promotion Corporation (KOTRA)
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)
Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI)
Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization (MYANTRADE)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei Darussalam (MOFAT)
Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB)
Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP)
Trade and Product Promotion Department (TPPD), Laos
Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC)
Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE)