Structural reforms needed to achieve sustainable recovery
This Meeting has involved a very informative exchange of views,
stimulated by the full and open engagement of the Japanese delegation,
highly analytical and insightful comments by the discussant, and
Members' active involvement in the discussion. This exchange has
contributed to a much better understanding by Members, and thus their
collective evaluation, of Japan's trade and trade-related policies.
The outcome, I believe, has been a highly successful 6th Review of
Japan's trade policies, practices and measures.
were encouraged by signs of moderate economic recovery in Japan, whose
economic health is important for the prosperity of the world economy
and the expansion of trade. Members recognized that the multilateral
trading system by keeping foreign markets open to Japan's exports, had
contributed to the improved economic outlook for Japan. While
commending Japan's recent efforts to implement and accelerate
structural reforms, including the removal of barriers to foreign
businesses in various sectors, Members encouraged Japan to press ahead
with reforms, through inter alia further financial and corporate
restructuring, improved market access (particularly in agriculture),
and stronger competition policy, particularly implementation.
congratulated Japan on its active role at the WTO, including its
strong support for the Doha Development Agenda and commended the
authorities for their active engagement in properly reflecting the
interests of developing countries in the ongoing negotiations and
work. However, some Members expressed concerns about the nature of
Japan's proposal in agriculture. Members also noted Japan's increased
involvement with regional and bilateral trade agreements; in this
regard, they encouraged the WTO compatibility of these agreements,
notably on product and sectoral coverage. While expressing their
appreciation of preferential market provided by Japan to developing
and least-developed countries, some Members encouraged Japan to
liberalize further its market in respect of LDCs' products.
trade and trade-related policies, Members remarked in particular on
Japan's complex tariff structure, including tariff quotas, significant
tariff peaks and tariff escalation for some products, and the fact
that non-ad valorem tariffs tended to involve relatively high applied
rates. Some Members voiced concern over the complexity and seeming
lack of transparency of government procurement practices. Furthermore,
while recognising Japan's right to pursue legitimate policy objectives
with regard to the protection of human, animal and plant life or
health, many Members expressed concern over the complexity of Japan’s
standards, technical regulations, and sanitary and phytosanitary
measures, including quarantine procedures (and long delays therein),
and encouraged Japan to employ these measures in the least
trade-restrictive manner. In addition, pointing to the low level of
inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Japan, Members
welcomed Japan's efforts to open further its FDI regime.
sectoral issues, Members noted that the level of domestic support for
agriculture seemingly exceeds the sector's contribution to GDP.
Although generally acknowledging the importance of non-trade concerns
in agriculture, some Members urged Japan to address these concerns in
a manner that would not unduly distort production or trade. Members
recognised that substantial reforms had been undertaken in the
financial services and telecommunications, but expressed their belief
that reform should continue with a view to enhancing competition in
these and other services, such as transportation, education, legal and
also sought clarification on several specific issues including:
of regulatory procedures;
measures, including emergency safeguards;
and business costs in telecommunications market; and
expressed their appreciation of the oral and written responses and
explanations provided by the Japanese delegation; they looked forward
to receiving written answers on outstanding questions.
brings us to the conclusion of our 6th Trade Policy Review of Japan.
The large number of advance questions, numerous interventions and the
high level of attendance indicate the importance Members attach to
Japan's leadership at the WTO. In this context, I would encourage
Japan to continue its strong support for the multilateral trading
system. I also hope that Japan will take to heart the concerns
expressed by Members, particularly with regard to its policies on
agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government
procurement and competition.