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METI State Minister Takagi Visited Austria and Switzerland

From December 2 to 4, 2016, Mr. Yosuke Takagi, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Austria and Switzerland to attend a WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) Ministerial Meeting and also to hold meetings with director generals of international organizations.

1. WTO EGA Ministerial Meeting

State Minister Takagi attended a WTO EGA Ministerial Meeting held from December 3 (Sat.) to 4 (Sun.), 2016, and made statements stressing the following points:

  1. The EGA negotiations are of great significance in contributing to the solution of environmental issues through promoting a free trade policy and are also extremely important from the viewpoint of maintaining global trust in WTO.
  2. Member countries participating in the negotiations should not waste the results having been accumulated by the negotiators and ministers of the countries, and should aim at an early conclusion of the negotiations.

At the meeting, the ministers of the countries proactively negotiated for two days, aiming to conclude the negotiations. However, they could not reduce the divergence of positions on products to be included and reach an agreement at this time. Though future schedules for further negotiations are to be determined in due course, they shared the same recognition that all of the member countries should continue to negotiate, aiming at an early conclusion of the negotiations.

Reference: WTO EGA negotiations

  • In July 2014, WTO EGA negotiations were launched, aiming to eliminate tariff barriers imposed on goods contributing to environment protection and countermeasures against climate change, e.g., devices related to photovoltaic or wind power generation. Currently, 46 member countries* participate in the negotiations on a volunteer basis.
    *Australia; Canada; China; Costa Rica; European Union (28 countries); Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Korea; New Zealand; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; Liechtenstein; Chinese Taipei; Turkey and United States
  • In September 2016, the G20 Leaders’ Communique at the Hangzhou Summit mentioned that G20 EGA participants welcome the landing zone** achieved in the WTO EGA negotiations, and reaffirm their aim to redouble efforts to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2016.
    ** EGA negotiation countries identified 304 products as candidates of tariff elimination.

2. Bilateral and trilateral meetings (EGA negotiations, etc.)

State Minister Takagi held a trilateral meeting with H.E. Ambassador Michael Froman, United States Trade Representative, and H.E. Mr. Jean-Luc Demarty, Director-General for Trade, European Commission. In addition, he also held bilateral meetings with H.E. Mr. Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy, Turkey, with H.E. Mr. Lee In-ho, Deputy Minister for Trade, Korea and with H.E. Mr. John Fonseca, Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica.

Meeting with Trade Representative Froman, the U.S., and Director General Demarty, the EU

Meeting with Minister Zeybekci, Turkey

Meeting with Vice Minister Lee, ROK

Meeting with Vice-Minister Fonseca, Costa Rica

3. Meeting with the International Organizations in Austria

1) Meeting with H.E. Mr. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

State Minister Takagi held a meeting with Secretary General Barkindo, OPEC, and exchanged views on trends in oil producers surrounding production adjustment on which consensus was reached recently at an OPEC Conference, on the demand-supply balance of oil, and on other issues. In addition, both sides confirmed that stable crude-oil markets will bring mutual benefits for oil consumers and producers. Moreover, they also agreed to the importance of information exchange between OPEC and large consumers, such as Japan, and confirmed that they will continue to have opportunities for exchanging opinions to enrich mutual understanding.

2) Meeting with H.E. Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

State Minister Takagi held a meeting with Director General Amano, IAEA, and explained the progress in the efforts involving the decommissioning and measures for contaminated water management at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. State Minister Takagi reported that Japan confirmed in October 2016 that the freezing of the sea-side underground sections of the land-side impermeable wall (frozen soil wall) has been completed, that Japan is also advancing the preparation for holding the second International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in July 2017 according to a tentative schedule, and that it has also established an opportunity for communication between national and regional government and people working in the fields of education, medical care and nursing care, aiming to reconstruct Fukushima Prefecture. Moreover, both sides exchanged views on future approaches to conveying information on the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to people both domestically and internationally, as well as other issues.

3) Meeting with H.E. Mr. Li Yong, Director General, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

State Minister Takagi held a meeting with Director General Li Yong, UNIDO, and offered his congratulations upon the 50th anniversary of UNIDO’s foundation. In addition, both sides confirmed that Japan and UNIDO will continue to cooperate in developing Africa through a new project for geothermal power generation in Africa and other collaboration program. Furthermore, concerning the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) to be held in March 2017 co-organized by UNIDO and the Ministry of Economy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan made an offer for its participation and cooperation for GMIS. Finally, both sides confirmed their future collaboration.

Release date

December 5, 2016

Division in Charge

Information on the EGA Ministerial Meeting:
Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau
Information on the visit to Austria:
Policy Planning Division, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
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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