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METI Minister Seko Attends Third Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers, OECD Ministerial Council Meeting and Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade

From May 30 (Wed.) to June 2 (Sat.), 2018, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Paris, the French Republic, to attend the Third Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers, an OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, and an Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade.

1. Third Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers

Focusing on the joint actions agreed to at the second trilateral meeting in March 2018 to exclude market-distorting measures by third-party countries, the ministers held discussions on the progress in countermeasures and future directions to address this matter, and compiled the discussion results into an overall joint statement and three field-based documents, i.e., a Joint Statement on Technology Transfer Policies and Practices, a Joint Statement on Market Oriented Conditions, and a Scoping Paper on industrial subsidies.


Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers

2. OECD Ministerial Council Meeting

The meeting was chaired by France this year. Minister Seko attended a session for international trade and investment for strong and inclusive growth. As a lead speaker, he pointed out the importance of multilateral trading systems based on rules; that trade measures need to conform to WTO rules; and the importance of securing of fair competitive conditions through removal of market-distorting measures. He continued that, to this end, OECD member countries should enhance international rules of subsidies, implement countermeasures against pressured technology transfer, and accelerate the work of the International Working Group on Export Credits and the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity. These statements were all reflected in the Statement of the Chair of MCM 2018.


Delivering opinions at the meeting

3. Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade

Under the chairmanship of Australia, an Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade was held, bringing together officials from approximately 30 countries and regions and the WTO Secretariat. As international trade is facing severe conditions, participants held discussions on approaches to advancing WTO rule negotiations and those to building greater resilience in the WTO systems. Minister Seko stressed that multilateral trading systems based on rules is a foundation to develop and grow the global economy and that invoking countermeasures inconsistent with WTO rules will benefit no country. In addition, he stated the importance of member commitment to WTO reforms, including rulemaking in the field of electronic commerce and enhancement of the notifying obligation, initiatives led by Japan.


Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade

4. Ministerial Meeting of the members of the WTO Exploratory Work on Electronic Commerce

Minister Seko attended a Ministerial Meeting of the members of the WTO Exploratory Work on Electronic Commerce, which was held under the chairmanship of Australia, and exchanged frank views with other participants concerning the current situation and future approaches. He stated the importance of seeking high-level international rules with significance in terms of commerce with participation of a wide variety of members, including developing countries, and the need for early resumption of negotiations. Other participating countries expressed strong support for these views.

5. Bilateral meetings with participating countries

Taking the opportunity of his visit, Minister Seko held meetings with H.E. Dr. Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade, the EU, H.E. Mr. Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, and other officials, and held discussions on broad topics, including bilateral relationships and the WTO.

(1) Meeting with EU Commissioner for Trade Malmstrom

Minister Seko held a meeting with EU Commissioner for Trade Malmstrom. At the meeting, both sides shared concern over Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 of the U.S., and issued a joint statement as below.


Meeting with EU Commissioner for Trade Malmström

(2) Meeting with US Trade Representative Lighthizer

At the meeting with US Trade Representative Lighthizer, both sides agreed on Japan-US collaboration in rulemaking in the field of e-commerce and raising awareness of outcomes of the Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers among the G20. Following this, Minister Seko received an explanation on the current situation of US-China meetings.


Meeting with US Trade Representative Lighthizer

(3) Other short meetings

Moreover, Minister Seko had a short talk each with: H.E. Mr. Roberto Azevedo, WTO Director-General; H.E. Dr. Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Secretary of the Economy, Mexico; H.E. Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands; H.E. Mr. Peter Szijjiarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary; H.E. Mr. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Switzerland; H.E. Mr. David Parker, Minister for Economic Development, New Zealand; H.E. Mr. Steven Ciobo, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia; H.E. Mr. Maksim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development, Russia; H.E. Ms. Ine Eriksen Soreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway; and H.E. Mr. Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, Canada.

Release date

June 4, 2018

Divisions in Charge

  • Information on the Trilateral Meetings of Trade Ministers and the Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade:
    Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau
  • Information on the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting
    International Economic Affairs Division, Trade Policy Bureau
  • Information on the Informal Meeting of Ministerial Responsible for WTO Trade
    Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau
  • Information on the Japan-EU Joint Statement:
    Europe Division, Trade Policy Bureau
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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