JBIC Governor, CEO, Hiroshi Watanabe
On January 27, 2016, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) held a seminar titled, "Year 2016 – the Future of the Global Economy and Trends of Foreign Direct Investment", together with the Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI).
With a total attendance of about 160 people, which included ambassadors and ministers of various countries to Japan, the seminar began with opening remarks by Mr. Junichi Kondo, the President of JOI. This was followed by a speech by JBIC Governor, CEO, Hiroshi Watanabe on the theme of "Recent Development in Global Market", and a presentation of the results of the FY2015 Survey Report on Overseas Business Operations by Japanese Manufacturing Companies (the "Survey") by Tomoo Kushibiki, Director of JBIC's Research Division of Policy and Strategy Office for Financial Operations.
Watanabe first explained that the European Union (EU) faces a number of issues concerning its future existence as a federation, such as the delicate relationship between the EU and Greece, the potential exit of the UK from the EU, increasing the dominance of Germany, and differences among the EU nations in dealing with the refugee issue. He then raised the growing xenophobia, especially in France and the US, and also commented that the absence of a powerful policy decision-maker in the US in 2016 poses a serious problem given the already weakening influence of the superpower. He pointed out that the America's future approach to politics and diplomacy will have a great impact on the global situation. Regarding the current state of global finance and the world economy, he commented that: the central bank of each country is presently propping up share prices; the inadequate development of infrastructure in emerging countries especially needs supplementary funding from international financial institutions as the existing long-term funds have proven to be insufficient; and the excessive fall of oil prices has had negative effects also on consuming countries. In respect to the economic state of emerging countries, he explained that, while India's economy is in relatively good shape, China may be experiencing an economic decline that is far worse than what is officially announced and that we must pay more careful attention to its impact.
Kushibiki followed with his presentation of the results of the Survey, and commented that despite the differences among countries, the enhancement of overseas business in the medium term has, on the whole, come to a standstill. He also explained that, while Asia dominates the top ranks of promising countries for medium-term business operation, with India coming first for the second-year running followed by Indonesia and China, Mexico has been increasing its presence mainly in the automobile industry. Furthermore, he pointed out that hopes and motivation to enhance business expansion in China are on the decline, and that infrastructure development in emerging countries of Asia, even those which are more advanced than others, has been assessed by some as inadequate in terms of quality.
JBIC will continue to provide information which will be beneficial to the overseas business expansion of Japanese companies, as well as the global economy, through such seminars in collaboration with international agencies.