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Symposium: The Future of Asia-Pacific Economic Integration

• A symposium on “The Future of Asia-Pacific Economic Integration,” “Foreign Direct Investment in the Midwest United States,” and “Trade after US Withdrawal from the TPP,” was held on January 24 at conference room of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. With an invitation of Japanese scholars, the symposium was made possible with a partnership of Japan’s government, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago.
• Japanese scholars were Fukunari Kimura, Chief Economist of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia and Professor of the Keio University in Japan; Yorizumi Watanabe, Professor of the Keio University, whose career includes major bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations for decades; and Shihoko Goto, Senior Northeast Asia Associate in Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

• In the topic of the Future of Asia-Pacific Economic Integration, linkage between integration and security, Japan’s leadership, influence of rising power, impacts on possible trade war between the U.S. and China, aging issues, and Japan-US relations in Trump era were mainly discussed.
• Panelists were Bart Edes, North American Representative, Asian Development Bank; Fukunari Kimura; Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and the moderator was Karl Friedhoff of Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

• On the topic of Foreign Direct Investment in the Midwest United States, James Mathis, General Manager of Komatsu America’s Peoria operations, and Kei Pang, CEO of Nidec Motor Corporation, talked about their investments, operations, labor force, unions, future investments and others.
• Jonathan Hallberg, Executive Director of Jefferson County Illinois Development Corporation and Jason Hester, President of Greater Columbus Indiana Economic Development Corporation, discussed on their incentives, regional development, job training, company support programs and others.
• Moderator was Mike Lev of Chicago Tribune Editorial Board member.

• An exciting topic was TPP (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership). After the U.S. withdrawal, negotiation among 11 countries continued, and a high-standard agreement was concluded last December. The 11 countries will sign it on March 8 in Chile, and TPP 11 is expected to start in 2019.
• Panelist Shihoko Goto; Yorizumi Watanabe; Christopher Nelson, Fellow for US-Asia Relations, Sasakawa USA; and Jeffrey Schott, Senior Fellow of Peterson Institute for International Economics, discussed about the benefits of TPP, America’s losses from withdrawal, room prepared for U.S. return, Trump Administration’s bilateral policy and Japan’s trade policy, possibility of China’s participation and others. The discussion was moderated by Phil Levy, Senior Fellow of Global Economy in Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

• Entire discussion can be seen at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs website

From left: Karl Friedhoff, Fukunari Kimura, Sheila Smith, and Bart Edes (Photo from Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ video)

Photo from left: Phil Levy, Yorizumi Watanabe, Shihoko Goto, Jeffrey Schott, and Christopher Nelson (Photo from Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ video)