June 10, 2019
On June 8 (Sat.) and 9 (Sun.), 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) jointly held the G20 Ibaraki-Tsukuba Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy. At the meeting, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, serving as co-chair with Mr. Masatoshi Ishida, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, and Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, adopted the G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy and issued a Chairs’ Statement.
1. G20 Ibaraki-Tsukuba Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy
Amid the advancement of digitalization, trade and the digital economy have become inseparable issues. Against this backdrop, Japan hosted the first G20 meeting bringing together ministers of trade and of digital economy.
At the meeting, all participating G20 members confirmed the need to tackle the issue of trade tensions as, as trade tensions rise and the global trade environment becomes increasingly difficult. Moreover, the G20 referred in the Ministerial Statement to specific details of WTO reform issues, including notification systems and regular committees, on which the Trilateral Meetings of the Trade Ministers have been holding discussions. Ministers also agreed, for the first time in G20, on the need to take action regarding the functioning of the WTO dispute settlement system. Furthermore, G20 members mentioned, also for the first time, the need for enhancement of the rules on industrial subsidies, an issue on which the Trilateral Meetings of the Trade Ministers has been holding discussions, and also included in the Ministerial Statement, for the first time, rule-making on electronic commerce, an initiative tackled by WTO like-minded member countries under the leadership of Japan.
Concerning the field of digital economy, G20 members exchanged views on how to achieve an inclusive, sustainable, safe, trustworthy and innovative society through digitalization. There was discussion on the concept of “Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)”, governance innovation (agile and flexible policy approaches in the digital economy), human-centric AI, security in the digital economy, and SDGs and inclusion (tackling the digital divide and promoting digitalization).
- G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy (English)(PDF:89KB)
- G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy (Japanese)(PDF:399KB)
- Chairs’ Statement (English)(PDF:16KB)
- Chairs’ Statement (Japanese)(PDF:126KB)
2. Bilateral meetings between Minister Seko and participating countries
Minister Seko held bilateral meetings each with: H.E. Mr. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC); H.E. Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment, Saudi Arabia; H.E. Mr. Juri Ratas, Prime Minister, Estonia; H.E. Dr. Cecilia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade, the EU; H.E. Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia; H.E. Mr. Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany: H.E. Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of Railways, India; H.E. Mr. Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of South Africa; H.E. Ms. Ruhsar Pekcan, Minister of Trade, Turkey; and H.E. Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore. At each meeting, the two sides exchanged views concerning the agendas of the G20 meeting, bilateral relationships and other issues. Moreover, during a break between these meetings, Minister Seko held a telephone conference with H.E. Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative.
(1) Meeting with Vice-President Ansip, EC
At the meeting with Vice-President Ansip, the two sides held discussions on data policies, focusing in particular on Japan-EU collaboration, including the concept of DFFT, policies for privacy protection and policies for AI.
(2) Meeting with Minister Al Qasabi, Saudi Arabia
At the meeting with Minister Al Qasabi, the two sides exchanged views on cooperation in the G20 meetings in 2020, the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 and other issues.
(3) Meeting with Prime Minister Ratas, Estonia
At the meeting with Prime Minister Ratas, the two sides exchanged views on the flow of data and other issues and also held discussions on further advancement of the Japan-Estonia relationship in the future.
(4) Meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom, the EU
At the meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom, the two sides held discussions on a wide variety of issues, including WTO reform and other major agendas of the G20 meeting above.
(5) Meeting with Minister Birmingham, Australia
At the meeting with Minister Birmingham, the two sides confirmed Japan-Australia collaboration on the initiatives involving the WTO Exploratory Work on Electronic Commerce and RCEP.
(6) Meeting with Federal Minister Altmaier, Germany
At the meeting with Federal Minister Altmaier, the two sides welcomed the advancement of cooperation under the Hannover Declaration and then held discussions on further consolidation of bilateral relationships in the future, common challenges that the two countries are facing and other issues.
(7) Meeting with Minister Goyal, India
At the meeting with Minister Goyal, the two sides held discussions on RCEP as well as the WTO reform and other agendas of the G20 meeting above.
(8) Meeting with Minister Patel, South Africa
At the meeting with Minister Patel, the two sides held discussions on further promotion of investment by Japan in South Africa, the WTO reform as an agenda of the G20 meeting above and other issues.
(9) Meeting with Minister Pekcan, Turkey
At the meeting with Minister Pekcan, the two sides held discussions on the Japan-Turkey EPA.
(10) Meeting with Minister Chan, Singapore
At the meeting with Minister Chan, the two sides held discussions on approaches to advancing the WTO reform and RCEP negotiations, ideal approaches to bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of digital technologies and other issues.
3. Bilateral meetings between Mr. Akimasa Ishikawa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and participating countries
Parliamentary Vice-Minister Ishikawa exchanged views each with: H.E. Ms. Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the United Kingdom; H.E. Mr. Yanez, General Director of International Economic Relationships and Vice Minister for Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile; and H.E. Mr. Michele Geraci, Secretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, Italy.
(1) Meeting with Minister James, the U.K.
At the meeting with Minister James, the two sides held discussions on the DFFT and the governance innovation as the agendas of the G20 meeting above as well as on further consolidation of bilateral economic ties and other issues.
(2) Meeting with Vice Minister Yanez, Chile
At the meeting with Vice Minister Yanez, the two sides held discussions on the WTO reform, electronic commerce and other issues as the agendas of the G20 meeting
(3) Meeting with Secretary of State Geraci, Italy
At the meeting with Secretary of State Geraci, the two sides held discussions on some issues surrounding the WTO and expansion of trade and investment between Japan and Italy in light of the enforcement of the Japan-EU EPA.
Division in Charge
International Economic Affairs Division, Trade Policy Bureau