USA / JAPAN – The United States and Japan completed the first round of meetings of the United States-Japan Partnership on Trade on February 28 (March 1, Japan time). The US delegation was led by Michael Beeman, assistant US trade representative for Japan, Korea and APEC Affairs, and Japan’s delegation was led by Ono Keiichi, director-general, economic affairs Bureau, ministry of foreign affairs, and Matsuo Takehiko, director-general, trade policy bureau, ministry of economy, trade, and industry.
Launched on the occasion of ambassador Tai’s visit to Japan in November 2021, the partnership on trade aims to strengthen the United States-Japan trade relationship through a commitment to advance bilateral collaboration on trade-related topics and issues of common interest, as well as to secure regular, ongoing engagement on addressing bilateral trade issues.
On areas of common interest collaboration, the United States and Japan discussed specific initiatives and efforts in a range of areas, including:
- Labor – Discussions focused on the shared commitment of the United States and Japan to increasing predictability through encouraging best practices with respect to internationally-recognized worker rights. Among other issues, both sides intend to engage in further discussion to discuss due diligence guidance related to eradicating forced labor and other practices of concern in global supply chains, taking into account international standards.
- Digital Economy – Discussions focused on affirming shared commitments and both sides decided to coordinate efforts to respond to third-country regulations that go against these commitments, and to exchange views on emerging and innovative digital trade rules.
- Environment – Affirming their shared commitment to protecting our global environment, both sides will hold discussions on reverse supply chains and the circular economy, as well as exchanges on promoting zero-to-low carbon goods and technologies.
- Trade Facilitation – Discussions focused on the importance of resilient supply chains, and the growing role of digital technology in customs trade facilitation.
- Third-country Issues – Both sides exchanged information on shared concerns about the trade-distorting practices of third countries and discussed concrete follow-up activities.
- Multilateral Cooperation – the United States and Japan also concurred to work towards robust agendas for the United States’ APEC host year and Japan’s G7 host year, both in 2023.
During the meeting, both countries also covered bilateral trade issues on each side, including issues in the areas of regulatory transparency and standards, among others.
The United States and Japan will engage in intersessional activities and expect to hold the next round of Partnership meetings to advance these and other shared priorities during the summer of 2022.