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

October 18, 2007



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

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

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 (

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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