“Work as a single ASEAN, to trade between ourselves and make it seamless between ourselves. That could reduce the impact that is forthcoming because of this tariff war.”
Back in the 70s and 80s, the US often pressured Japan on trade issues. Japan negotiated on many issues in almost all sectors.
Most importantly, he emphasised that there are solutions.
Tanabe said the solutions included both voluntary export restraint and import expansion, which 30 years ago helped calm trade stresses.
“If you look at the silver lining, it is an opportunity for us to look at our competitive advantages.
“Hong Kong and ASEAN signed a free trade agreement last November and that is very interesting.
“Hong Kong wants to be more than a China bridge; we want to be at the centre of Asia looking at a closer relationship with Japan, with ASEAN, while at the same time contributing to China’s road and bridge initiative.”
No time to waste
“ASEAN leaders must embrace the reality that a solution is needed now, and from within, despite the differences in the region’s economic development.
“ASEAN negotiators should have in their mind that the intention is to see their neighbours prosper.
“If all our neighbours prosper together whereby we help each other, provide input into how to develop our countries, in an equal way, then we’ll be alright.”