The U.S.-Japan Business Council (USJBC) and Japan-U.S. Business Council (JUBC) held the 54th meeting of the US -Japan Business Conference in Washington on November 2-3, 2017, under the Conference theme: “US -Japan Ties at a Critical Juncture.”
A number of security and economic challenges in the Asia-Pacific require greater US – Japan cooperation. North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and a growing number of territorial and maritime disputes are among the most prominent security concerns facing the two countries. In addition, the liberal international economic order has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. These themes remained top of mind for participants throughout the Conference.
This Conference assembled business leaders from the United States and Japan, who confirmed their commitment to promoting a free, open and rules-based global trading system; setting an example for sustainable economic growth; and maintaining regional stability. Throughout the conference, the Councils stressed the need for the US and Japanese business communities to be in lock-step at this critical juncture, where we face growing uncertainty not only over regional security, but also regarding the shifting US stance on trade – particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The Councils underscored the importance of promoting shared values in order to preserve and build on the contributions made by US and Japanese businesses to global economic growth, including through development of extensive value chains across the region.
The Councils agreed that a rules-based free-trading system promotes economic growth, job creation, and innovation and resilience of participating economies. The Councils duly recognize the Government of Japan’s leadership in pursuing the Tran s-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) since the US decision to withdraw from TPP. The Councils expressed their hope that discussions between the United States and Japan on a bilateral framework will be accelerated with a view to deepening their economic relations, and setting high trade and investment standards throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Councils emphasized that the US -Japan Alliance is essential to stability and prosperity across the world and underscored the importance of strengthening the commercial relationship as a fundamental pillar of the US -Japan relationship. The Councils encourage the governments of both countries to commit themselves to further improving market access and pursuing high standards and more comprehensive cooperation in areas such as digital commerce, competition with state-owned enterprises, regulatory practices, and intellectual property protection, among others. They applauded both governments for their renewed engagement through the US – Japan Economic Dialogue, including on more effective enforcement activities against unfair trade practices by third countries. They emphasized the need for private-sector input into the dialogue and encouraged both governments to ensure concrete outcomes that create meaningful opportunities for the private sector. A priority area is enhanced collaboration on quality infrastructure, both bilaterally, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including closer cooperation on infrastructure projects and standards setting through APEC, in the activities of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and in other regional fora.
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