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Remarks by Ambassador Demetrios Marantis at the U.S.-Japan Business Council Annual Business Conference

November 3, 2009
U.S.-Japan Business Council Annual Business Conference
Washington, DC

*Excerpts As Prepared for Delivery*

"You all know the numbers. Japan is our fourth largest goods trading partner and a major destination for our services. By the time I finish here today, another $30 million in bilateral goods and services trade will have crossed our borders - $270 million by the end of the day. U.S. services exporters are driving much of the growth in our trade on the U.S. side.


This Administration seeks to strengthen our trade and economic ties with Japan further, including expanding our focus on pursuing common agendas.

On the other side of the Pacific, Japan's new Government has only been in place a short time. But the message we have been receiving from them is clear - the new Japanese Government also seeks stronger trade and economic ties with the United States.

Let me mention a few things I think that we can do.

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.

One model that illustrates the possibilities for such joint work is our cooperation in the area of intellectual property protection. Even as there remain some outstanding issues between us, our overall interests are nonetheless in much greater alignment than ever before. As a result, we are able to work very closely with Japan to seek a successful conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation along with a number of other countries. We are also working to streamline our patent procedures and other steps aimed at making practical improvements that benefit innovators in our economies. And we are closely cooperating in regional institutions - such as APEC - to pursue our common interests in IPR.


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.

Japan has benefited greatly from the international trading system, but frankly, Japan's agriculture sensitivities to date have held it back from filling the leadership role it could be playing. We hope Japan will step up its leadership to achieve a successful market opening result in the Round that will benefit the global economy and deliver on the development promise of Doha.


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.

We are already working closely in APEC across many initiatives - ranging from bolstering regional economic integration to protecting intellectual property rights and promoting high tech trade and innovation. Other areas of overlapping interest that we seek to pursue jointly with Japan in the coming months and years include:

  • green growth and steps to address global climate change;

  • initiatives on services and on standards;

  • new work on food security.

The next two years are pivotal for APEC. We are very pleased with the degree of cooperation that we have established with Japan to date and optimistic about the platform that APEC gives us to move our common agenda forward.


My vision for the U.S.-Japan economic and trade relationship is one of more dynamic engagement that better meets the potential for this relationship. It includes more problem solving - to resolve bilateral issues as well as address common concerns in third countries.

It includes prioritizing new modes of cooperation that allow us to pursue more common interests - ranging from pursuing building blocks that improve opportunities for our trade and economic growth, to closely cooperating to leverage our respective APEC host years in a mutually beneficial manner. And it includes sustained attention to achieve a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda.

We are ready and eager to work on this agenda with Japan's new Government. We are also eager to seek the input of both our business communities -- including those of you in this room with the real world experience who we need to continue to hear from as we set new priorities. Your views will be important for all of us going forward."