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Ambassador Marantis Addresses the U.S.-Japan Business Council Annual Business Conference

Earlier today, Ambassador Demetrios Marantis spoke at the U.S.-Japan Business Council Annual Business Conference.

DJM_Japan Speech

Japan is the United States' fourth largest trading partner, with $270 million goods and services being traded on a daily basis. The Obama Administration believes, however, that we can strengthen our trade and economic ties with Japan further, including expanding our focus on pursuing common agendas.

Ambassador Marantis shared his ideas on how to increase bilateral trade this morning. Read excerpts of his speech below.

"Bilaterally, we need to maintain a focus on resolving issues of concern that are raised by our respective business communities and other stakeholders. Much of this work has taken place to date under our bilateral Regulatory Reform Initiative. It is important to keep this work going - but also update and strengthen it in new ways.

One way is to begin to use this forum as a venue to pursue new building blocks in our relationship - projects that require joint action to address practical or emerging regulatory and business environment issues of common interest.

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It is also important for us to step-up our bilateral cooperation to address issues in third countries where we have common concerns. We are already working together to address information technology policy issues in third countries like China, including bringing a joint dispute settlement case in the WTO against the EU relating to the WTO Information Technology Agreement. We believe there is more that can be done jointly to tackle common concerns around the world.

On the multilateral front, the United States and Japan share a common goal of advancing the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations as the primary mechanism to reduce trade barriers and further accelerate global trade liberalization.

The United States is committed to the successful completion of the Round as soon as possible. This goal can be met - but substance will drive progress. Success depends on everyone's efforts and contributions. For our part, the U.S. negotiating team is ready to go into the endgame, and we are looking for concrete signs that others, including Japan, are ready to do the same.
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As the two largest economies in the Asia-Pacific region, our work in APEC is also of great importance. And we have before us a particularly valuable opportunity to advance our mutual goals in APEC while strengthening our own relationship.

After the APEC economy leaders meet in Singapore a few days from now, attention will quickly turn to Japan's 2010 host year for APEC. We have already been working with Japan very closely to make both Japan's 2010 APEC host year and the United States' 2011 APEC host year as successful as possible. Our cooperation will only intensify in the coming months. These two years present a major opportunity for our governments to strengthen and update APEC. This will ensure APEC remains relevant and meaningful, and allows us to use APEC to pursue new initiatives of common interest."

For more from Ambassador Marantis's speech, click here.