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Schwab Urges Japan's Continued Commitment to Reform - Annual U.S. Reform Recommendations Presented to Japan

 

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today submitted to Japan a broad and detailed list of reform recommendations aimed at improving the overall business climate and competitive position for innovators in Japan’s market while expanding opportunities for U.S. exporters.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan, Korea, and APEC Affairs Wendy Cutler presented the U.S. Government recommendations to the Japanese Government at the start of a meeting of the U.S.-Japan Trade Forum held today in Tokyo.

“The United States is counting on Japan to remain firmly on the path toward greater economic reform and more open markets.  This is a win-win proposition for both our countries,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.  “These tangible reform steps will help boost growth and opportunity by lowering costs, raising efficiency, and spurring new innovative products and services that will benefit all Japanese citizens.”        

The U.S. submission placed particular emphasis on urging Japan to enact a range of pro-innovation policies in the medical devices and pharmaceuticals sectors as well as take steps that help ensure equal treatment and efficient competition in all markets where the new Japan Post companies compete with private companies.  The requests also urge Japan to improve customer convenience by carrying through with its planned full liberalization of the bank sales channel of insurance products.

The U.S. recommendations include areas where further progress is urged as well as new issues for discussion.  The overall range of recommendations is comprehensive, and includes steps to  promote competition and convenience in wireless products and services, ensure efficient implementation of health IT solutions, give individuals more efficient ways to invest for their future, prevent bid rigging in public works projects, foster management accountability to shareholders, improve predictability and transparency of the regulatory process for all stakeholders, and lower costs in Japan’s distribution sector.

The U.S. recommendations were submitted under the U.S.-Japan Regulatory Reform and Competition Policy Initiative (Regulatory Reform Initiative).  The Regulatory Reform Initiative provides a forum for engagement with Japan over a wide range of issue areas, such as competition policy and intellectual property rights, as well as specific issues in particular industries, such as in the communications and healthcare-related sectors.

This seventh annual U.S. submission starts the process of several months of working- and high-level engagement, culminating in an annual Report to the Leaders that documents progress each year.  The Regulatory Reform Initiative remains a cornerstone of our engagement with Japan under the 2001 U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth. 

A summary and detailed annex of the reform recommendations can be found on the USTR website (www.ustr.gov).

Trade Forum

Assistant USTR Cutler presented the recommendations to Yoichi Otabe, Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Economic Affairs Bureau, in Tokyo where they are co—chairing the U.S.-Japan Trade Forum.  In the Trade Forum meetings, both Governments are addressing a range of issues on our bilateral trade agendas.

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