By RYO NAKAMURA, Nikkei staff writer
BEIJING — A joint delegation of three Japanese business groups opened talks here Monday with Chinese counterparts to discuss cooperation between the two countries’ private and public sectors amid a transforming international order.
“Japan and China’s role in ensuring free trade has become increasingly important,” said Chairman Shoji Muneoka of the Japan-China Economic Association in light of a growing protectionist bent from U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders. “Business cooperation built on Japan and China’s strengths should move forward.”
Japanese Business Federation Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara and Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura were among the roughly 250 representatives present, making it one of Japan’s largest business delegations to China. Talks with government officials are set for Tuesday, given the improving diplomatic relationship between Beijing and Tokyo. Japan is seeking a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
“Japanese-Chinese cooperation is crucial to economic recovery in East Asia and the world,” said Jiang Zengwei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. “The two economies are complementary.”
Zengwei recommended cooperation in renewable energy, medicine, education, artificial intelligence and other technologically innovative fields.
Business leaders also discussed creating markets in developing nations and how to advance technological change. Japanese trading house Itochu emphasized its plan to jointly invest in Southeast Asian infrastructure projects with China’s state-run investment group Citic. Chinese financial executives noted that investment by Japanese companies is an important source of funds for China’s renewable energy and environmental industries.