The 29th Meeting of the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee

On December 10th, 2019, Canada hosted the 29th meeting of the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee (JEC) in Toronto. This marked the third meeting following the 2016 agreement of Prime Ministers Trudeau and Abe to revitalize the JEC framework.

The JEC was co-chaired by Mr. Jonathan Fried, Coordinator, International Economic Relations and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for the G20, and Mr. KANASUGI Kenji, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Fried chaired the meeting on behalf of Canada’s Deputy Minister of International Trade, Mr. John Hannaford. Canada’s Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Ian Burney, and Japan’s Ambassador-Designate to Canada, Mr. KAWAMURA Yasuhisa, as well as officials from the Canadian and Japanese governments also attended the meeting.

Recalling the commitment made by Prime Ministers Trudeau and Abe in April 2019, the co-chairs agreed to work to strengthen the strategic partnership between Canada and Japan and affirmed their governments’ shared vision for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. In the light of this commitment, the co-chairs highlighted the economic collaboration initiatives being taken by Canada and Japan to advance their partnership and shared interests.

The JEC provided an opportunity to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Committee acknowledged the opportunities that the CPTPP has generated for Canadian and Japanese businesses and consumers, and reaffirmed a shared commitment to support an effective, free, fair, open and rules-based multilateral trading system. It acknowledged the need for Canada and Japan to continue their work to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Committee welcomed the work of the Ottawa Group and other WTO reform initiatives and affirmed Canada and Japan’s commitment to continue to collaborate in this area.

The co-chairs also discussed developments and opportunities for collaboration in the JEC’s current priority areas of co-operation, which are:

  1. energy;
  2. infrastructure;
  3. science and technology;
  4. tourism and youth exchange; and
  5. improving the business environment and promoting investment.

The co-chairs further agreed to consider ways that Canada and Japan can jointly cooperate to advance economic development in third markets. While acknowledging their shared commitment to maintaining positive business environments, the co-chairs agreed on the benefits of an ongoing dialogue in respect of matters that are perceived to negatively affect those environments.

In recognition of the importance of bilateral trade and investment in the areas of innovation and critical minerals value chains, the co-chairs agreed to include innovation in the priority areas of cooperation at the 2020 JEC meeting and to start to consider the inclusion of critical minerals value chains. They emphasized that a flexible approach should be taken to modifying the priority areas of cooperation, which allows the JEC to focus on issues of contemporary importance. The co-chairs further agreed to develop terms of reference for the JEC’s Cooperative Working Group with a view to ensuring regular dialogue between officials in respect of JEC-related issues.

The Committee took note with satisfaction of the work of the Canada-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation. The Committee also took note of plans to establish a Canada-Japan Energy Policy Dialogue.

In the light of the synergies between their economies that present opportunities for closer commercial relations and their shared trade and investment policy interests, the co-chairs agreed to continue to work to strengthen their strategic economic partnership in 2020 and beyond.

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