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April 9, 2009 (9:50 a.m. EDT)
No. 94

Minister Day Sparks Initiatives to Spur Economic Partnership with Japan

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and his Japanese counterpart, Toshihiro Nikai, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, agreed today to direct officials to identify specific areas of trade that will form the basis for a future economic partnership agreement. Minister Day made this announcement as he concluded a successful two-day trade mission to Tokyo and Nagoya.

“With the second largest economy in the world, Japan is Canada’s third-largest export market and a key player in global trade and investment,” said Minister Day. “An economic partnership agreement would help both of our countries address today’s economic challenges by creating jobs and opening more doors for business on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.”

The two ministers welcomed a new expanded bilateral air agreement, noting the increased business and tourism opportunities this agreement provides.

The ministers also discussed enhanced trade in agri-food, including expanded access for Canadian beef, and explored ways to increase trade and tourism through the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

Their meeting also included a discussion of energy security and Canada’s plans to include pipelines and terminals as part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

The two ministers also agreed on the importance of moving forward with the Doha Round of world trade negotiations, of enhancing market access and countering protectionism, particularly in the current economic climate.

They agreed to deepen cooperation in science and technology, pointing to recent and upcoming innovation exchanges among business, universities and government research organizations in the areas of clean energy, nanotechnology and advanced materials. This collaboration between the two countries was also the focus of Minister Day’s meeting with Japan’s Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy and Food Safety Seiko Noda.

Minister Day also met with Satoshi Aoki, Chairman of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Chairman of the Canada Committee of the Japanese Business Federation, and Katsuaki Watanabe, President of Toyota Motor Corporation. Both companies opened manufacturing plants in Ontario last year.

“Together, the Japanese automakers currently have billions of dollars invested in Canada, representing tens of thousands of Canadian jobs. Honda and Toyota are major investors and employers in Canada and we discussed the current challenges facing the auto industry,” said Minister Day.

The Minister also delivered a speech to 150 Japanese business leaders, including prominent members of the Japanese Business Federation. He highlighted the recent agreement on a substantial expansion of the bilateral air transport agreement between Canada and Japan.

Minister Day was accompanied on this trip by a business delegation for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

“By leading this trade mission with a focus on this Gateway, I encouraged the Japanese to use our ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert as quick and efficient entry points to the North American market,” the Minister said.

In 2008, Canadian merchandise exports to Japan were $11.1 billion, up 20.2 percent, and merchandise imports from Japan were $15.3 billion. In 2008, Japanese cumulative investment in Canada was $13 billion, and Canadian cumulative investment in Japan was $3.1 billion.  

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada