Posted at 2:38 PM
Earlier this week Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews led the inaugural meeting of the Department of Commerce (DOC) and Japan's Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry (METI) Commercial Dialogue. The dialogue brought together representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and METI to discuss opportunities to advance the U.S.-Japan commercial relationship. The initial meeting focused on several critical issues including the changing global economy, excess steelmaking capacity, the impact of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the digital economy, and increased opportunities for joint collaboration in the field of regenerative medicine.
Steel overcapacity has been sustained or created with foreign government support and has reached an unsustainable level. As the world’s second largest steel industry, Japan is an active participant in the Organization for Economic-Cooperation and Development (OECD) Steel Committee. Japan and the United States share similar views on the challenges of excess steel capacity, and jointly support proposals to address the issue.
The United States and Japan are the largest and second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the United Kingdom (UK). Both countries discussed the impact of Britain’s potential exit from the European Union. DOC and METI pledged to share insights in an effort to support U.S. and Japanese businesses in the UK.
The agenda also included discussion of privacy, data flows, and cybersecurity issues. METI’s support has been crucial to establishing the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In APEC, the primary focus for the digital economy is to expand participation in the CBPR system. CBPR is a voluntary, but enforceable system that promotes a set of mutually recognized data privacy practices to facilitate trade and strengthen consumer privacy protections and trust across the Asia-Pacific region. Commerce will review the Government of Japan’s new cross-border data transfer regulations under the Personal Information Protection Commission to better assist U.S. business moving forward.
The Deputy Secretary exchanged information with METI on our healthcare system, specifically the regenerative medicine sector and examined opportunities for collaboration. Both the United States and Japan face challenges and opportunities with an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases.
The regenerative medicine field involves technology such as biologic and gene-based therapies, tissue-engineered biomaterials, developing clinical tools and laboratory and storage solutions to support commercialization and clinical practices.
The U.S.-Japan bilateral trade and investment relationship is as strong as ever, with commercial ties at the core of our relationship. Establishing an economic dialogue before the Obama administration transitions is key to maintaining an open flow of communication and supporting the best possible working relationship.