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Press Conference by Minister Seko (excerpted version)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.

9:12 - 9:18 a.m.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

Japan-EU High-level Dialogue for Industry, Trade and Economy

Q: In the joint statement of the Japan-EU Summit Meeting on July 17, it is stated that the Japan-EU High-Level Dialogue for Industry, Trade and Economy is to be held by the end of this year. Could you tell us your thoughts on what will be discussed, and what kind of results you expect?

A: The Japan-EU High-Level Dialogue for Industry, Trade and Economy, stated in the Joint Statement of the Summit Meeting, provides for strategic discussions between Japan and EU ministers on a wide range of economic and industrial matters, such as trade policy, regulatory cooperation, and investment.
 Regarding the specific agenda, we will coordinate with the EU, and it is not yet decided at this time. My hope is that Japan-EU economic relations will become closer through the framework of this new dialogue, in addition to the Japan-EU EPA.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

Q: The Japan-Thailand High-Level Joint Commission was held on July 18 and the Thai side reiterated its willingness to participate in the TPP 11. It was also the same day that the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox expressed UK’s interest in the TPP 11.
 I believe that the Japanese government indicates a policy agenda to expand multilateral economic frameworks including the TPP. Considering these developments in the UK and Thailand, and the results from recent chief negotiators meetings, what are your thoughts on these developments?

A: I also participated in the meeting, and the Thai side expressed strong interest in the TPP.
 It is a common goal for TPP participant countries to spread new common rules of the 21 century, which are of a high-standard and well-balanced, through welcoming new participants.
 In addition to the UK and Thailand, we welcome the fact that various countries and regions are currently showing interest in joining the TPP 11, including Colombia, Taiwan, and South Korea. We would like to actively provide relevant information to those who are interested.

US Import Restrictive Measures on Automobiles

Q: It is reported that a public hearing was held in the US regarding imported automobiles and concerns from countries around the world have been reiterated. What are your thoughts on this?

A: At the public hearing held on the 19th local time, the Japanese Embassy in the US explained Japan’s position regarding the investigations on automobile imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act: that Japanese manufacturers and their subsidiaries of automobile/auto parts as well as car dealers are significantly contributing to the US economy, that there would be a negative impact on economy and business if trade restrictive measures were put into action, and that any trade measures should be consistent with the WTO Agreement.
 I hope that the US Department of Commerce will take full consideration of these facts as advance. Based on Japan’s position and utilizing opportunities for cooperation, I would like to continue to work hard on this issue with US.


Japan-EU Trade Relations

Q: During the Japan-EU Summit Meeting held in Tokyo on August 17, some reports suggest that the EU has called on Japan to participate in a new arrangement to reduce automobile tariffs among three major countries/region, including the US. Could you outline facts about this?

A: It is important that Japan and the EU cooperate and we are currently discussing with the EU in various ways, but I would like to refrain from referring to specifics.


US Import Restrictive Measures on Automobiles

Q: It is reported that there were also many objections from US manufacturers in the public hearing on automobiles. Could you tell us what your thoughts are on this?

A: I also heard that there were many objections from US companies to the application of Section 232 to automobiles. I hope that the Trump Administration will listen carefully to such voices.

Q: I would also like to ask about automobiles. I can understand the basic logic, but could you tell us your thoughts on what will specifically happen if the measure is actually invoked? For example, how likely is it that Japanese car sales will worsen and the entire assembly supply chain will be compelled to move to the US? Or, what kind of situations do you foresee when you mention that “the entire global economy will become deteriorated”?

A: I believe that there are currently various discussions underway regarding its potential impact on global macroeconomic conditions. At any rate, this would of course have no positive effects, so I believe that it is important to firmly work with the US government so as to prevent any lose-lose decisions from occurring.

Last updated:2018-11-21