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Japan’s Abe calls for rebuilding trust in int’l trade system in Davos

  • January 23, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 7:53 p.m.
  • English Press

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Wednesday for “rebuilding” trust in the international free trade system amid a tense U.S.-China tariff war during a speech at a high-profile annual economic meeting in Davos.


He also highlighted the importance of a system that enables nonpersonal digital data — a potential driving force of the economy — to flow freely across borders, saying he hopes the issue will be dealt with at the Group of 20 leaders’ meeting to be hosted by Japan in June.


“Japan is determined to preserve and committed to enhancing the free, open, and rules-based international order,” Abe said at the World Economic Forum, noting that the trade system should be “fair, transparent and effective” in protecting intellectual property rights, among other issues.


As part of efforts to pursue free trade, he touched on a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, which took effect late last year following U.S. withdrawal, and another free trade pact between Japan and the European Union that will enter into force on Feb. 1.


He also said his country, the United States and Europe must join forces to reform the World Trade Organization, especially to correct rules on what they view as trade-distorting government subsidies.


With Japan’s western city of Osaka to host the G-20 gathering this year, Abe said he wants the meeting to be long remembered as a summit that “started worldwide data governance.”


“Let Osaka G-20 set in train a new track for looking at data governance — call it the Osaka Track,” he said.


To tackle global challenges such as climate change and plastic waste contamination, Abe called for the need for more innovations, including technologies to reduce the costs of making hydrogen, before it’s “too late.”


The four-day international economic forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos started Tuesday and is expected to attract more than 3,000 participants, including world political and business leaders. Abe attended the event for the first time since January 2014.

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