"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] "Tunisia Declaration": Joint Statement of the Second Meeting of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum for development of Japan-Arab economic relations

[Place] Tunis
[Date] December 11-12, 2010
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

The second meeting of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum was held in Tunis on December 11, 2010, hosted by the Government of Tunisia, on the basis of the Memorandum of Co-operation (MOC) between the Government of Japan and the League of Arab States (LAS). The Forum was very fruitful, based on the outcome of the first meeting, with a wide range of participation including ministers, government officials and businessmen from public and private sectors of both Japan and Arab countries, and there were diverse discussion and dialogues between enterprises. We are convinced that this result will lead to further development of the Japan- Arab relations.

A. Development of Japan Arab Economic Relations and Contribution to Peace

Both sides recognized that it is necessary to further deepen understanding and exchange to fully make use of potentials for developing the mutually-beneficial and diverse economic relations.

Both sides highly appreciated the fact that the two meetings of the Japan-Arab Economic Forum, which were held in Tokyo, December 2009 and in Tunis, December 2010, deepened such mutual understanding and exchange between both sides and especially brought about tangible results such as signing several documents at this meeting in Tunis.

The Arab countries expressed their appreciation for the contribution of Japanese government and private sector to projects and business activities in the Arab countries for the sake of their economic development, and both sides recognized that Japanese official development assistance could continue to play a pivotal role for the development of the Arab countries, which receive such assistance.

Both sides confirmed that it could bring about great benefit for both sides and both peoples to develop the relations between both sides in the areas including energy, environment, human resource development, education, science and technology, investment, tourism, finance, trade, and industry. In addition, both sides shared the view that the economic relations between both sides would be deepened further under the peaceful political environment that contributes to establishing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the relevant UNSC resolutions, the principle of land for peace and the Arab peace initiative.

Both sides called for developing cooperation in various branches of industrial field and enhancing the competitiveness capacities of Arab industries, particularly in priority sectors like manufacturing and information and communication technology, through providing technical assistance.

Both sides recognized that the development of trade relations among the Arab countries such as Great Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) contributes to the expansion of economic relations between both sides and that various problems arising in the context of their economic relations should be resolved in a prompt, amicable and fair manner.

Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to achieve a balanced and ambitious conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and emphasized the importance of cooperation between them in all matters related to the WTO.

B. Cooperation in the field of Energy and Environment

Both sides reconfirmed their determination to cooperate on the basis of mutual benefit in the field of oil and natural gas both in the upstream and downstream sectors and expressed their expectation for the development of the cooperation in this field, which was confirmed in the Forum. Both sides shared the view that the stable trade ties involving oil and natural gas are extremely significant and mutually beneficial for both Japan and the Middle Eastern countries and that OAPEC plays an essential role in this respect.

Both sides attached importance to developing renewable energy projects as an effective means to respond to the increasing needs for energy in the world for the future, and focused on various advantages that the Arab region enjoys toward the introduction of renewable energy, which is sustainable and non-depleted sources. Both sides welcomed the development of concrete projects relating to photovoltaic and solar thermal energies with the participation of both public and private sectors and confirmed that their cooperation should be further strengthened.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of mutual cooperation in the field of water in the Arab countries, taking into consideration the sustainability of water resource. In addition, both sides welcomed the development of various efforts, including "Water Policy Dialogue" and business missions, based on the discussion in the last meeting of the Forum, and expressed expectations for strengthening their ties for the future.

Both sides discussed the possibility of cooperation in the field of peaceful use of nuclear energy and came to a recognition that they should continue the exchange of views. The Arab side welcomed the participation of Japanese enterprises in the projects of constructing nuclear power plants for the production of electricity.

C. Cooperation in the field of Human Resource Development, Education, Science and Technology

Japan and the LAS members promote multi-layered cooperation in the areas including development of primary education, capacity-building for manufacturing industries, establishment of "Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology "E-JUST" and implementation of the Borj Cedria Science and Technology Park Development Project in Tunisia which has been promoted through Japanese Yen Loan. Both sides recognized the importance of further developing cooperation in these areas including university.

Both sides discussed the possibility of implementing projects making use of outstanding Japanese science and technology, especially the possibility of cooperation between Japan and the LAS members in the field of Information Technology (IT), advanced technology and space technology.

D. Cooperation in the field of Investment, Tourism, Finance and Trade

Both sides shared the view that it is essential for further economic development of the Arab region and strengthening of the economic relationships between both sides to improve infrastructures, including railways, construction and power plants. In response to the interest of the Arab countries in making use of outstanding technology and know how of Japanese enterprises in those fields, the Japanese side expressed its determination to actively contribute to the improvement of infrastructures in the Arab region, in cooperation with the public - private partnership including the use of finance.

Both sides recognized the necessity of further enhancing and developing trade and investment and expressed expectation for the development of concrete projects by enterprises on both sides. Both sides shared the view that financial institutions have a crucial role in the promotion of business and investment in Japan and the LAS members, and recognized the importance of deepening financial relations through exchanging information on the two-way investment (between Japan and the LAS members) and etc.

Both sides stressed the importance of joint cooperation in the field of exchanging trade information, and creating a trade database between the Arab countries and Japan.

Both sides welcomed the recent development in tourism. Both sides shared the view that tourism was one of the priorities for the LAS members in boosting economy and social development as tourism provides significant employment with the development of touristic resources. Both sides recognized the importance of supporting the promotion of tourism between Japan and the LAS members in both directions.

E. For the Future

Both sides confirmed that the mutual understanding and exchange between them have further deepened and their economic relations have developed since the first meeting of the Forum. In addition, both sides welcomed the increase of new projects by Japanese private enterprises, which were confirmed in this Forum, and confirmed the importance of further accelerating the cooperative relations between those private enterprises toward the next meeting.

Both sides confirmed that this Forum functions as a common framework connecting their business activities. Both sides confirmed the development of the concrete cooperation conducted by Japanese relevant organizations, such as Nippon Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations), Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), Japan Cooperation Center, Petroleum (JCCP), Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc. (JFTC), the Middle East Research Institution of Japan and Japan Arab Association, expressing the expectation for implementing various programs in the future. In addition, both sides confirmed that their business would be facilitated through the formation of the common platform under this Forum and the promotion of exchanging information.

Both sides expressed appreciation for the arrangements and hospitalities made by Tunisia as a host country and for the cooperation by Japanese embassies in Arab countries and the Arab Diplomatic Corp in Japan. Both sides decided to hold the third meeting in Tokyo in 2012.