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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara Meet During Apec Forum Leaders Meeting

November 13, 2010

Yokohama, Japan – Today United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Leaders Meeting. During the meeting, Minister Maehara extended a personal welcome to Ambassador Kirk on his first visit to Japan as the United States Trade Representative.

Ambassador Kirk and Minister Maehara agreed on the importance of closely collaborating to promote deeper bilateral relations, including through strengthening APEC. Both also agreed to strengthen the countries’ bilateral economic engagement, including through the recently announced U.S.-Japan Economic Harmonization Initiative.

In response to Minister Maehara’s explanation on Japan’s new Basic Policy on Comprehensive Economic Partnerships, Ambassador Kirk welcomed Japan’s interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and exchanged views with Minister Maehara on Japan’s desire to closely consult with the United States on this matter going forward. Also, Ambassador Kirk and Minister Maehara noted the agreement between President Obama and Prime Minister Kan to consult on these issues.

“Japan is a key ally and remains an important trading partner. I am confident that our renewed commitment to work together to address issues, explore new opportunities, and enhance our cooperation on key issues will contribute significantly to our friendship and to our economic growth,” said Ambassador Kirk.

Ambassador Kirk also raised the importance of fully resolving bilateral issues, including those related to Japan’s beef and insurance markets. Minister Maehara explained Japan’s positions.

As well, Ambassador Kirk and Minister Maehara reiterated the importance of working together to address regional and global economic and trade issues. Both sides agreed to work closely on ensuring access to sufficient and reliable supplies of critical raw materials, including rare earths, to support global growth. Specifically on the WTO Doha Round, they recognized the importance of continuing to closely work together to achieve an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the negotiations. Regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, Ambassador Kirk and Minister Maehara welcomed the progress in finalizing the text and reiterated that both Governments will continue to cooperate closely to bring the agreement into effect as soon as possible.

Ambassador Kirk congratulated Minister Maehara on Japan’s successful APEC host year. Both stressed their desire to continue to work together to help ensure the success of APEC when the United States hosts in 2011.