November 9, 2018
Tokyo--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that reforming the World Trade Organization is "indispensable."
"Japan's commitment to the WTO is unwavering," Abe also said at a meeting with WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo at the prime minister's office in Tokyo.
Japan is calling for the enhancement of the WTO's monitoring functions as part of steps to overhaul the Geneva-based trade watchdog.
Abe and Azevedo agreed on cooperation to promote free trade.
"Japan hopes to contribute to maintaining and strengthening the free trade system," Abe said.
In reply, Azevedo said that he is grateful for Japan's great leadership at a time when world trade is in difficult circumstances, apparently referring to protectionist policies of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Also on the day, members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), comprising business leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum member economies, including Hideaki Omiya, chairman of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. <7011>, visited the Japanese prime minister at his office to hand a report on proposals from the ABAC.
The report called on APEC economies to avoid taking tariff measures to address nontariff concerns, implicitly criticizing the Trump administration, which is attempting to correct the U.S. trade imbalances with trading partners including China through additional tariffs.
Combined impacts of such actions threaten to severely disrupt supply chains and trade, the report said, indicating strong caution over possible negative impacts on employment and economic growth in many countries from the tit-for-tat U.S.-China trade battle. Jiji Press
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