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During his visit the Director-General also met with Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Taro Kono, and the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Mr Hiroshige Seko. In addition, he took part in a roundtable discussion with Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), spoke at a panel discussion organized by the Japan Institute of International Affairs on 'WTO reform and the path forward' and delivered a keynote speech at the International Symposium for the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO.
In his remarks to the JETRO event the Director-General said:
His full speech to the JETRO event is available here.
“Japan is currently the world's 4th largest exporter of goods and the 4th largest importer. One out of every 10 Japanese jobs is linked to exports. You are also working to further increase your integration with other markets. Prime Minister Abe signed a free trade deal with the EU in July. The CPTPP is set to enter into force at the end of the year. And of course Japan is a very prominent member of the WTO. In fact, Japan's representative to the WTO, Ambassador Junichi Ihara, is currently the chair of the General Council. This is one of the most important roles in the organisation. All of this shows how much you value trade and the trading system – including the WTO.
“In these times of rising tensions, and questions about the WTO's future, I think it's vital that we remember the system's fundamental importance. In my view we must work together to ensure that we can meet the trade challenges of today, and be ready to face the challenges of tomorrow. I am confident that we can do this – and ensure that the global trading system goes from strength to strength. I know that we can rely on Japan's leadership and support in that endeavour. In the end, this is how we will continue to support growth, development and prosperity for the years to come.”