A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu was attending the fourth annual dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary General and members of the Federation of the Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN (FJCCIA) in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur on July 8-9.

This was the first time economic ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan have joined business leaders in talks on lifting trade barriers and securing closer economic ties.

The dialogue offers a chance for ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan to clear up Japanese investors’ concerns and inform the Japanese business community about the region’s situation as well as decisions made by ASEAN member countries.

Industry leaders from ASEAN and FJCCIA asked politicians to join them at the dialogue, aimed at discussing the implementation of the free trade area in ASEAN and addressing problems faced by Japanese investors targeting the 10-nation region.

Malaysian Minister of Industry and Trade Mustapa Mohamad said in his opening remarks that many businesses were benefiting from free trade agreements (FTA) or economic partnership agreements (EPA), which are both set in ASEAN.

He expressed his hope that the number would further increase with the signing of agreements on service and investment in accordance with the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Malaysian minister said he believed there would be closer cooperation between FJCCIA and the ASEAN Commercial Consultative Committee, as well as chambers of industry and trade.

Mohamad took the occasion to propose that FJCCIA and the ASEAN economic minister jointly hold a seminar titled “ASEAN investment”, especially for Japanese businesses, during the next dialogue or at a suitable time./.