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2008年11月26日 (水)

APEC声明 WTO交渉合意の誓約を守れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 25, 2008)

APEC leaders must keep promises on crisis

APEC声明 WTO交渉合意の誓約を守れ(1125日付・読売社説)

Pacific Rim leaders confirmed the importance of cooperating to overcome the global financial crisis at their meeting on the weekend, just a week after the financial summit meeting of the leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized and developing economies in Washington.


The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum held in Lima and attended by the leaders of Japan, China, the United States and 18 other Pacific Rim countries and territories, adopted a joint declaration by the leaders and a special statement on the world economy.


The latter specifically states that APEC leaders can overcome the global financial crisis in the next 18 months.


The G-20 meeting in Washington one week ago came out with measures, including one to strengthen the functions of the International Monetary Fund and another to enhance regulations on and supervision of financial institutions.


The statement issued by the APEC forum included the same kind of measures, but purposely specified a timeline for implementing the measures. This indicates a stronger determination on the part of the APEC leaders to overcome the crisis.


However, the 18-month timeline aimed at overcoming the crisis by May 2010 has no foundation and there is no guarantee that the problems can be resolved according to the schedule set out in the APEC forum statement.



Ambitious schedule

The economies of Japan, the United States and Europe likely will all contract in 2009 and those of emerging economic players are slowing. Analyzing the current situation, some observers have said the timeline specified in the special statement is too optimistic.


Each APEC forum leader will need to tackle further economic pump-priming measures after steadily implementing items incorporated in the special statement. Such efforts are vital if the envisaged timeline is to be any more than an empty promise. Meanwhile, it is important that the special statement sounded the alarm about rising protectionist sentiment and came out in favor of the promotion of free trade.



The APEC forum leaders showed a willingness to complete the seven-year-long Doha Round of trade liberalization talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, saying in the special statement that they are committed to making a breakthrough and reaching a broad agreement in the trade liberalization talks next month.



Lessons of the past

In the Great Depression that began in 1929, each country raised tariffs and tried to divide the world economy into blocs, actions that deepened the crisis. Based on this lesson, the APEC forum leaders agreed to the importance of promoting free trade at the current stage. In preventing the rise of protectionism and the worsening of the world economy, there is no doubt that settling the Doha Round of free trade talks would be a good thing.



The free trade talks broke down this summer over conflicting opinions between the United States and Europe and between industrialized and developing countries. Since then, the basic confrontational situation has not changed. Japan, which is being pushed to further open its agricultural markets, is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the free trade talks.


At a press conference in Lima, Prime Minister Taro Aso spoke of his renewed determination to reach a basic deal in the WTO negotiations. "Japan also will try to get what it wants and try to protect what it needs to protect [in the talks]," he said.


Japan should play a major role in the settlement of these difficult negotiations.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 25, 2008)

200811250143  読売新聞)


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