Washington, Jan. 13 (Jiji Press)–Japanese trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer exchanged views on Monday on reforming the World Trade Organization, which has become largely dysfunctional due to a shortage of members at its appellate body.
Meeting in Washington, the Japanese and U.S. trade chiefs also confirmed that the two countries will strengthen their partnership in establishing international rules in the digital field, in line with a bilateral digital trade agreement that came into force on Jan. 1.
Kajiyama and Lighthizer discussed ways to review WTO rules in order to deal with “unfair trade practices,” apparently with China in mind. Such practices include providing favorable treatment to specific industries through subsidies.
In a related move, the trade ministers of Japan, the United States and the European Union will hold a meeting on Tuesday aimed at warning China on the subsidy issue, which remains unsettled between Washington and Beijing.
Kajiyama also met with U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.
In view of the recent instability in the Middle East following tensions between the United States and Iran, Kajiyama and Brouillette agreed to deepen Japan-U.S. cooperation through multilateral frameworks such as the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies and the International Energy Agency.
Specifically, they confirmed bilateral cooperation in the fields of liquefied natural gas and nuclear energy.
This is Kajiyama’s first U.S. visit since becoming trade minister in October.