METI Minister Seko Attends Sixth Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers, OECD Ministerial Council Meeting and WTO Informal Ministerial Meeting
May 24, 2019
From May 21 (Tue.) to 24 (Fri.), 2019, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Paris, the French Republic, to attend the Sixth Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Ministers, an OECD Ministerial Council Meeting and WTO Informal Ministerial Meeting
1. Sixth Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers
Minister Seko held the Sixth Trilateral Meeting of the Trade Minister with H.E. Mr. Robert E. Lighthizer, Trade Representative, the United States, and H.E. Dr. Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade, the EU. They made substantive progress on the issues concerning the rules on industrial subsidies and agreed to future advancement of discussions on this issue while encouraging like-minded members of the WTO to participate in them.
In addition, they agreed on trilateral cooperation in tackling promotion of the WTO reform and other challenges in the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy in June 2019. At the end of the meeting, the ministers agreed on a joint statement as an outcome of discussions at the meeting.
Sixth Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers
2. OECD Ministerial Council Meeting
Minister Seko attended a session on digital technology and a session on trade as a lead speaker, respectively. At the session on digital technology, he conveyed to participants the importance of Japan’s policy titled “Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT),” a concept for achieving free flow of data while securing public trust in protection of privacy and security. Following this, he stated the need for highly-flexible regulations and governance that are tailored to the digital era.
At the session on trade, he stated that it is necessary to strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system to address root causes of the current situations, such as market-distorting industrial subsidies and forced technology transfer. He continued that the WTO needs reform to these ends. Moreover, he stated the need for continuation of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity as well as Japan’s intention to encourage the WTO negotiations on commerce taking the opportunity of the G20 meetings.
OECD Ministerial Council Meeting
3. Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for WTO Trade
Under the co-chairmanship of Australia and Canada, the Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for WTO Trade was held bringing together officials from about 30 countries and regions and the WTO Secretariat. As global society is facing severe situations in international trade, participants proactively held discussions on a variety of issues, including the WTO reform, to advance discussions toward the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in June 2020. Minister Seko conveyed to participants the importance of the WTO functions for making rules for electronic commerce and industrial subsidies and those for enhancing transparency and monitoring, as well as the importance of improvement of the dispute settlement system, as efforts for strengthening the advancement of WTO reform.
Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for WTO Trade
4. Bilateral meetings with participating countries
Taking the opportunity of his visit, Minister Seko held meetings each with: Commissioner Malmstrom; US Trade Representative Lighthizer; H.E. Mr. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, France; H.E. Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Netherlands; H.E. Mr. James Gordon Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, Canada; The Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade of the United Kingdom; H.E. Mr. David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, New Zealand; and H.E. Mr. Roberto Azevedo, Director-General, WTO. At respective meetings, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of areas, including bilateral relationships and WTO issues.
(1) Meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom, the EU
Minister Seko and Commissioner Malmstrom exchanged views on a variety of challenges in trade policies. Following this, they confirmed close Japan-EU collaboration toward the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy to be held in June 2019.
Meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom
(2) Meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer
Minister Seko and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer held discussions on the WTO reform toward the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy to be held in June 2019. Following this, Japan requested cooperation with the U.S. in making the G20 Ministerial Meeting successful.
Meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer
(3) Meeting with Minister Le Maire, France
Minister Seko and Minister Le Maire held discussions on a wide variety of subjects in which they are both interested, including the G20 meetings, the WTO reform, bilateral economic ties and the alliance between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Renault Group.
Meeting with Minister Le Maire
(4) Meeting with Minister Kaag, Netherlands
Minister Seko and Minister Kaag held discussions on further development of bilateral cooperation in light of the results of the Japan-Netherlands summit meeting held in January 2019, collaboration toward the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy and other issues.
Meeting with Minister Kaag
(5) Meeting with Minister Carr, Canada
Minister Seko and Minister Carr confirmed the importance of discussions on the WTO reform, electronic commerce and other issues toward the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy and exchanged views on further promotion of trade and economic ties between Japan and Canada.
Meeting with Minister Carr
(6) Meeting with Secretary of State Fox, the U.K.
Minister Seko and Secretary of State Fox held discussions on further development of bilateral cooperation in light of the results of the Japan-U.K. summit meeting held in January 2019, collaboration toward the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy and other issues.
Meeting with Secretary of State Fox
(7) Meeting with Minister Parker, New Zealand
Minister Seko and Minister Parker held discussions on the WTO reform and RCEP.
Meeting with Minister Parker
(8) Meeting with Director-General Azevedo, WTO
The two sides exchanged views concerning rulemaking for electronic commerce, etc., enhancement of transparency and monitoring functions and other issues and agreed on future cooperation in advancing the WTO reform.
Meeting with Director-General Azevedo
Division in Charge
- Information on the Trilateral Meeting of Trade Ministers:
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 Ministers Responsible for WTO Trade
Multilateral Trade System Department, Trade Policy Bureau