Enhancing Canada-Japan economic relations

| April 20, 2014 | 0 Comments
Tokyo is Japan's capital and business centre.

Tokyo is Japan’s capital and business centre.

Canada and Japan have long enjoyed complementary economic relations, each specializing in products for which the other has a strategic need. Canada is rich in natural resources and yields a multitude of agricultural products of which Japan is a major importer. Meanwhile, Japan has developed cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and exports a variety of manufactured products to Canada.
For instance, according to Industry Canada, in 2012, Japan’s top five export products to Canada were passenger motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, bulldozers, printing machinery and automotive tires. Japan’s top five import products from Canada were coal, rape seeds, copper ores, pork products and lumber. Overall, the total value of exports from Japan to Canada was $15 billion, and the total value of imports from Canada was $10.3 billion.
One of the most important missions for our embassy is to strengthen bilateral economic relations between Canada and Japan by improving the business environment to facilitate the free trade of goods and services and further investments without substantial barriers.
The following four priority areas are especially important in realizing this goal. First, we are making efforts to conclude free-trade agreements as soon as possible, including the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (CJEPA) and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), both of which are currently under negotiation.
Concluding these agreements will promote trade and investment, create new businesses and jobs and benefit every corner of our two countries.
According to the Report of the Joint Study on the Possibility of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, a Canada-Japan EPA is expected to increase Japan’s GDP between 0.08 percent and 0.09 percent, and Canada’s between 0.24 percent and 0.57 percent. In absolute terms, estimates of GDP gains would be between $4.4 billion and $4.9 billion U.S. and $3.8 billion and $9 billion U.S. for Japan and Canada, respectively.
Second, we are strongly promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in western Canada, based on the Statement of Oil and Gas Co-operation, which was signed between the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and Natural Resources Canada in October of last year.
After the nuclear accident in Fukushima in 2011, the Japanese government has placed a high priority on secure and stable LNG supplies from around the world at competitive prices. Japan plans to conduct policy dialogues with Natural Resources Canada and relevant provinces, including British Columbia and Alberta. As many Japanese companies are already participating in LNG export projects in British Columbia, with their final investment decisions expected soon, we would like to closely co-operate with the Canadian government to support such private companies.
Third, we are actively promoting partnership and joint activities between economic organizations in both countries. Notable organizations include the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), Japan Chamber of Commerce and the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai). Some of these organizations are already starting new initiatives to work with governments to advance the Canada-Japan EPA and the TPP. Such initiatives are expected to promote business opportunities in both countries, as well as enhance broader business relations between Canada and Japan.
Finally, further scientific and intellectual co-operation is an important priority due to its ability to stimulate further innovation. Under the Canada-Japan Agreement on Science and Technology, signed more than 25 years ago, we have facilitated research activities in a variety of fields including nanotechnology, life sciences and sustainable energy technologies through joint funding projects. We are actively exploring future opportunities to promote the exchange of students and researchers with a view to building broad and robust networks of current and future innovators between Canada and Japan.
As stated above, Canada and Japan share a common policy agenda to actively promote innovative and high value-added businesses, such as high-tech, service and content industries. These businesses will attract new investments and create jobs, leading to further economic growth for future generations.
Promoting trade and investment in these areas is one of the biggest challenges in bilateral relations between Canada and Japan. During my tenure as ambassador to Canada, I intend to work tirelessly to promote such new business and contribute to better relations between our two countries.

Ambassador Okuda can be reached at the embassy of Japan atinfocul@ot.mofa.go.jp or (613) 241-8541.

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Ambassador Okuda can be reached at the embassy of Japan atinfocul@ot.mofa.go.jp or (613) 241-8541.

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