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U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba Discuss Trade Issues

December 19, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Ambassador Kirk met today with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba and discussed a range of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade issues. Ambassador Kirk welcomed our two countries’ close cooperation in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and under the bilateral Economic Harmonization Initiative.

Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Ambassador Kirk welcomed Japan’s interest in entering into consultations toward participating in the TPP negotiations and updated Minister Gemba on the domestic stakeholder and Congressional consultation process underway at USTR to consider this interest. Ambassador Kirk explained that the U.S. would also assess Japan's readiness to meet the high standards of TPP and to address issues of concern in the manufacturing, services, and agriculture sectors.

With respect to beef, Minister Gemba updated Ambassador Kirk on today's announcement by the Japanese Government to reassess import restrictions through the launch of a risk assessment process. Ambassador Kirk stated: “I welcome this important step which puts us on a path to address the longstanding issue of beef trade with the United States.” Ambassador Kirk urged that Japan further open its market to U.S. beef exports as quickly as possible based on science, international standards, and commercial viability.


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