A Closer Japan–United States Economic Relationship

With Sherman Katz

Thursday, February 22, 2007 09:00 AM to 12:00 PM



D. Kathleen Stephens, Principal Deputy Asst. Sec. for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Dept. of State
Kurt Tong, Director for Asian Economic Affairs, National Security Council
Tadakatsu Sano, former Vice-Minister, MITI (now METI)
Devin Stewart (moderator) Editor, Policy Innovations


Wendy Cutler, Asst. US Trade Representative for Northeast Asia
Atsushi Yamakoshi, Chief Keidanren Representative, Washington, D.C.
Tim Richards, Senior Manager, Washington Office, General Electric
Ira Wolf, Chief PhRMA Representative, Tokyo
Oakley Johnson, Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs, Washington Office, AIG

The chorus of calls for careful consideration of either an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) or FTA that is WTO-plus between the United States and Japan has recently grown with endorsements by Keidanren (Nov. 21) as well as by USJBC and JUSBC (Nov. 13) and the ACCJ (Nov. 9). Keidanren issued a "Call for the Start of Joint Study for a Japan-U.S. Economic Partnership Agreement" based on a questionnaire survey of member companies. As Keidanren puts it, framework for the economic stability and prosperity of East Asia would be conceivable without the relationship with the U.S. In view of this it is important that a Japan-US EPA be concluded to serve as a bridge between East Asia, including China and the U.S. It could serve as a basis of a Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which is to be considered in the future.

This was followed on January 19, 2007 by a Joint Statement by Keidanren and the Business Roundtable also calling for such a study.

Similarly, the US-Japan/Japan US Business Council said in a Joint Statement on Nov. 13. 2006:

The Councils continue to believe that conclusion of a high-level, comprehensive, and commercially meaningful Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the United Sates and Japan is a positive and worthy objective that would (1) provide substantial economic and trade benefits to both economies; (2) improve and solidify bilateral relations more broadly by strengthening the economic relationship and deepening economic integration; and (3) establish a model for other bilateral or regional agreements that achieve meaningful economic and trade liberalization.

Finally, on November 9, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) released a Business White Paper, "Working Together, Wining Together" in which the ACCJ,

calls on the governments of the United States and Japan to commit to the vision of concluding a comprehensive bilateral Economic Integration Agreement encompassing all aspects of bilateral economic activity. As a first step, the ACCJ calls for the United States and Japan to restructure and reinvigorate the U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth by establishing a new bilateral mechanism, to include a Cabinet-level U.S.-Japan Ministerial Forum to discuss key bilateral, regional, and global issues facing the two economies. Working groups to address immediate issues and identify areas where material benefit could be gained through further bilateral economic cooperation should also be a part of the new mechanism.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.

Toula Papanicolas

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