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Blog Category: Japan

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Leads Business Development Mission to Japan and South Korea

Home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s GDP and the fastest growing economies, the Asia-Pacific region offers a wide array of opportunities for United States businesses and workers. To further improve the U.S. economy, the Obama Administration recognizes the critical importance of strengthening its well-established trading partnerships in the region, particularly with Japan and South Korea.

With the fourth and thirteenth highest GDP respectively, Japan and South Korea are highly developed, stable markets for trade and investment. The healthcare sector in both countries is expanding quickly to meet rising demand. In Japan, there is a rapidly-aging demographic profile, with a population aged above 65 years, which will increase from 25.1 percent in 2013 to 29.2 percent by 2023. In addition, South Korea is emerging as a hub for global medical tourism by attracting and training world-renowned doctors and developing more advanced clinical trials.

To take advantage of these growing market opportunities, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will leave tomorrow for Asia to lead 20 American firms on a Business Development Mission with stops in Japan and South Korea. The business delegation includes small and big companies, such as C3 Energy, HPI, and Oregon. The mission will focus on expanding opportunities for U.S. businesses in the healthcare and energy sectors and will also look for ways to help the region develop and manage energy resources and systems, and build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.  

As the voice of business in the Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, plays a pivotal role in expanding market access for U.S. companies in countries around the world. Specifically on this mission, Secretary Pritzker and American businesses will meet with Japanese and South Korean business leaders in the medical device, biotechnology, regenerative medicine, energy and health IT sectors to explore opportunities for partnership and investment.

The Commerce Department is committed to creating more opportunities for American businesses to flourish both at home and abroad. During the mission, Secretary Pritzker will also focus on reinforcing trade agreements that reflect our values, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), that will help U.S. firms gain greater access to the Japan and South Korea markets.

This will be Secretary Pritzker’s first trade mission to Asia since taking office in June 2013 and will promote U.S. exports to Japan and South Korea by helping American companies launch or increase their business in these key markets.  The mission will make stops in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who is the head of the Commerce Department’s counterpart agency in Japan. Additional meeting participants included Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae.

During the meeting, Secretary Pritzker and Minister Motegi discussed the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. Japan recently joined TPP negotiations, bringing the economic impact of the 12 TPP countries to 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to Minister Motegi the U.S. commitment to working with the Japanese government to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement, which will enable the Partnership to promote economic growth and regional economic integration.

Secretary Pritzker also talked with the minister about SelectUSA, President Obama’s initiative to facilitate business investment in the United States. This fall, the Commerce Department is hosting the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit to connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. economic development organizations. Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the U.S., and the Summit provides an opportunity for firms and investors to connect with U.S. cities and states in support of job creation and economic growth.

Secretary Locke Addresses American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, Japan

Delivering remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) luncheon in Tokyo today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke discussed strengthening the U.S.-Japan economic relationship, noting the ongoing work between the U.S. Commerce Department and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as well as the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.

Locke reiterated the United States’ commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japanese trade, and the desire to see continued export expansion into Japan. Bilateral trade between the two countries totaled nearly $147 billion in 2009.

Locke also remarked on the need to ease trade barriers, calling for open investment and trade environment that allows businesses, entrepreneurs and policy makers to bring their respective strengths to the table and spur the type of innovation and economic growth the U.S. cannot achieve alone. He defined economic success as the ease with which policies make it possible for innovators to exchange ideas, as well as to invest and trade.  

The ACCJ luncheon marked Locke’s first stop in Japan while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, which is being chaired this year by Japan in Yokohama.

Secretary Locke Meets with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

Minister of Trade and Secretary of Commerce with other attendees of meeting. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Toshihiro Nikai, the first meeting between Minister Nikai and Secretary Locke. In their meeting, Locke and Nikai recognized the progress made by the Commerce Department and METI under the Joint Initiative for Enhanced U.S.-Japan Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights and other global issues and expressed support for continuing to deepen cooperation on trade and investment issues. “It is important for the United States and Japan, as the two largest economies in the world, to show strong leadership during these challenging economic times,” Locke said. (More)