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The 31st Meeting of the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee

On December 16/17, Canada hosted the 31st meeting of the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee (JEC). The meeting took place online due to ongoing complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The JEC meeting was co-chaired by John Hannaford, Deputy Minister of International Trade, and SUZUKI Hiroshi, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. Canada's Ambassador to Japan, Ian McKay, and Japan's Ambassador to Canada, KAWAMURA Yasuhisa, also participated. The participants looked forward to resuming in-person JEC meetings when conditions permit.

The co-chairs recalled their countries' recent commitments to expand bilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to advance six shared priorities, including economic areas such as Energy Security, Free Trade Promotion and Trade Agreement Implementation, and Environment and Climate Change. They welcomed the contribution these commitments make to Canada and Japan's shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to deepening their strategic partnership. They recognized the important contribution the Canada-Japan trade and investment relationship makes to both countries' economies and to their economic security. In this regard, they acknowledged the significant role of bilateral commercial ties to energy, critical minerals, and food security and agreed that there is considerable potential to expand trade and investment in these areas. The co-chairs agreed to add "Agriculture" as a new Priority Area of Cooperation within the JEC framework, aiming to promote trade in agricultural products on both sides.

The co-chairs also discussed the interest that Canada and Japan share in ensuring that the design, development, governance, and use of technology are guided by democratic values and respect for universal human rights. They affirmed that technology should not be misused or abused for malicious activities such as authoritarian surveillance and oppression and noted the contribution that enhanced collaboration between their tech and tech policy communities would make to promoting and protecting critical technologies.  The co-chairs confirmed the commitment of Japan and Canada to fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem based on mutual trust and confidence. 

Acknowledging the vital role that technological developments will play in the fight against climate change, the co-chairs underscored their governments' commitments to meeting their ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and achieving their shared goal of net-zero by 2050, reiterated at the COP26 World Leaders Summit by Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Kishida. They welcomed collaboration between their private sectors to develop clean tech solutions to environmental challenges and expressed support for bilateral engagement on the part of environmental officials. 

The co-chairs recognized the importance of enhanced collaboration on free, fair, and sustainable trade initiatives. They looked forward to celebrating the third anniversary of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on December 30, 2021, and committed to continued promotion of the Agreement's many benefits for their business communities and consumers. Noting the CPTPP members' tightly coordinated approach to recent accession applications, the co-chairs emphasized the importance of Canada and Japan's continued close collaboration with their CPTPP partners to uphold the Agreement's high standards. The co-chairs also discussed unfair trade practices and economic coercion, which threatens the foundational principles and institutions that comprise the rules-based trading system. They agreed that like-minded countries must stand together to counter the growing use of these practices. They acknowledged the need to postpone the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference due to an outbreak of a particularly transmissible variant of the COVID-19 virus, but affirmed their commitment to working towards a successful outcome when the Conference is held and resolved to stay focused on WTO reform efforts, including through the Ottawa Group.  

The co-chairs welcomed the Japan-Canada Chambers Council (JCCC) Joint Statement issued after the JCCC meeting on November 25/26, 2021, which highlights the importance of energy, innovation and the CPTPP to bilateral commercial relations. They also endorsed the discussion of the JEC's Priority Areas of Cooperation (PACs) by the Cooperative Working Group (CWG) and conveyed strong support for this mechanism's role in fostering bilateral dialogue on trade and economic matters.

The two sides welcomed the following progress related to the JEC's Priority Areas of Cooperation:

Energy

Infrastructure

Science, Technology and Innovation

Tourism and Youth Exchanges

Improving the Business Environment and Promoting Investment

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