By Ryo Nakamura in Washington
Keidanren [Japan Business Federation] Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara met with Republican Senator Ted Cruz on the afternoon of Oct. 31 (predawn hours of Nov. 1 in Japan). He stressed that “it is important for the basic framework to continue” in the ongoing review of NAFTA, indicating that a drastic change in the framework should be avoided. Cruz responded that, “It is not good to be closed to other countries,” stressing the importance of NAFTA.
Commenting on the U.S. administration’s proposal to review NAFTA every five years, Sakakibara noted that, “Companies in the world take an interest in this matter.”
Sakakibara also met with Republican Senator David Perdue, who is said to be close to President Donald Trump. Even members of the Republican Party are increasingly concerned about the Trump administration’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA. Sakakibara appealed for their support for the maintenance of the NAFTA framework.
Another meeting was held with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Sakakibara emphasized the possibility for Japanese and U.S. companies to cooperate in the U.S. administration’s infrastructure building plans. He indicated that he plans to promote the participation of Japanese companies in the areas of financial support and technical cooperation.