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METI State Minister Makihara Visits Switzerland and France

January 29, 2020

From January 20 (Mon.) to 25 (Sat.), 2020, Mr. Makihara Hideki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited Davos, Switzerland and Paris, France. He attended the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and meetings related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and held meetings with participating ministers of member countries.

1. WEF Annual Meeting (January 22 (Wed.) and 23 (Thur.))

State Minister Makihara attended the following five sessions of the WEF Annual Meeting, which are underlined below:

(1) Governors meeting: Information and communications technology policy on data flows and the Osaka Track

Japan explained the background to the Osaka Track process and emphasized to participating ministers the importance of multi-layered efforts toward fortifying the multilateral trading system, taking advantage of WTO negotiations on electronic commerce and existing agreements concluded between countries or regions, among other initiatives.

(2) Building trust in data flows

As one of the panelists, State Minister Makihara explained Japan’s efforts for holding discussions on digital policies and on the protection of personal data, including the WTO negotiations on electronic commerce, an initiative that Japan has been advancing through the Osaka Track process, and he stressed the need for discussions on these topics involving the public and private sectors.

(3) Board of stewards meeting: Future of trade and global economic interdependence

State Minister Makihara presented five important challenges from the viewpoint of the long-term visions: expanding inequality, global governance, advancing digital technologies, global environmental issues and the role of the WEF.

(4) C4IR Network - Collaborating across the network for impact

The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in Japan works on important policy initiatives that address the fourth industrial revolution. State Minister Makihara mentioned AI, data policies, autonomous driving technologies and other fields of activities engaged in by the Centre and he stated that Japan will continue to support C4IR in advancing its activities. He welcomed C4IR officials to visit Japan to participate in the Second Global Technology Governance Summit to be hosted by Japan in 2021.

(5) Japan regional public-private strategy meeting G20 and beyond

State Minister Makihara presented the outcomes of the G20 summit meeting hosted by Japan in 2019 to participants and stated the importance of forming links between different policy issues, such as between economic growth and environment protection, as an approach to achieving a sustainable society.

Panel discussion for the “Building trust in data flows" session

2. Ministerial Meeting on Investment Facilitation for Development hosted by Chile (January 23 (Thur.)),  Ottawa Group Ministerial Dinner hosted by Canada (January 23 (Thur.), Ministerial Meeting on WTO E-commerce Negotiations jointly hosted by Japan, Australia and Singapore (January 24 (Fri.)), and WTO Informal Ministerial Gathering hosted by Switzerland (January 24 (Fri.))

State Minister Makihara attended the Ministerial Meeting on WTO E-commerce Negotiations as a co-converner. At the meeting, the Philippines declared its participation in the negotiations, bringing the total number of WTO members participating in the negotiations to 83. Member countries agreed to develop a consolidated negotiation texts in order to achieve substantial progress before the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) scheduled to be held in June 2020. At the WTO Informal Ministerial Gathering, participants held discussions on future approaches to be taken toward MC12. State Minister Makihara stated the importance of presenting the progress in WTO reforms at MC12, specifically, the need for advancing priority issues, including the WTO negotiations regarding electronic commerce and reform of the notifications system. He also attended WTO-related meetings, such as the Ministerial Meeting on Investment Facilitation for Development.

3. Exchanging views with participating ministers and other officials in Davos (from January 22 (Wed.) to 24 (Fri.))

State Minister Makihara held individual meetings with: H.E. Dr. Katrin Eggenberger, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture, Liechtenstein; H.E. Mr. Agus Suparmanto, Minister of Trade, Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Mohammad Al Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia; H.E. Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment, Saudi Arabia; H.E. Mr. Bandar Alkhorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Saudi Arabia; H.E. Mr. Roberto Azevedo, WTO Director-General; H.E. Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, India; and other officials. At each meeting, he exchanged views on future directions of multilateral efforts and other issues.

4. Exchanging views with officials of the French government (January 21 (Tue.))

State Minister Makihara held a meeting with H.E. Ms. Agnes Pannier-Runacher, Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Economy and Finance, France, and other officials, and held discussions on Japan-France industrial cooperation, establishment of a rule-based international trading system, and other issues.

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