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ECONOMY > Trade

Keidanren steps up messaging against U.S. protectionism

By Fukutaro Yamashita in Washington

 

The Japanese business sector is stepping up its efforts to call on the Trump administration to review its protectionist trade policies. A Keidanren [Japan Business Federation] delegation visiting the U.S. has met with powerful members of Congress and senior officials of the Department of Commerce to appeal for the U.S.’s return to the TPP and maintenance of NAFTA.

 

Keidanren Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara stated at a meeting with House of Representatives member Dave Reichert and other officials on Nov. 1: “Japan and the U.S. should take the lead in making free and open trade rules in Asia-Pacific,” indicating his hope for the U.S. to return to the TPP.

 

Vice Chairman Shigeo Hayakawa of Toyota Motor Corporation’s Board of Directors, Hitachi Ltd. Vice President Akira Shimizu, and other business executives who are influential in the U.S. business community were also present at the meeting. Sakakibara presented materials on the number of workers hired by Japanese companies and their total investments in the U.S., stressing that the TPP will result in a further expansion.

 

However, it is widely believed that the U.S.’s early return to the TPP talks will be difficult. The Keidanren delegation had also requested meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross but the meetings did not take place due to scheduling problems. There is speculation that the two officials were wary that the Japanese side might make demands relating to the TPP and other issues.

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