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Canada-Japan trade negotiations an opportunity to improve ties with world's third-largest economy: CME

Published by Derek Lothian on March 23, 2012

The launch of Canada-Japan free trade negotiations announced today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper provides Canada an important opportunity to address longstanding barriers and improve the overall relationship with the world's third-largest economy, according to Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).

Japan is currently the fourth-largest market for Canadian products, with manufacturers accounting for 44 per cent of exports, followed by resources at 33 per cent, and agriculture, forestry and fisheries at 23 per cent collectively.

"Canadian businesses have much at stake in these negotiations," says CME President & CEO, Jayson Myers. "Japan is a strategic commercial partner; however it is also a country with whom we've had a persistent trade deficit when it comes to manufacturing. These negotiations provide the appropriate forum to resolve ongoing concerns."

In 2010, Canadian manufacturers sent $4.6 billion worth of goods to Japan, while Japan exported $12.8 billion in products to Canada. In recent years, industry leaders have pointed to excessive regulatory hurdles to market entry as a catalyst for the unbalance.

Canada and Japan are also simultaneously seeking to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations currently being held by nine other Asia-Pacific countries, including the United States. CME continues to advocate for Canada, Japan and Mexico to be admitted into these negotiations as soon as possible.

"Given the strong level of North American manufacturing integration, negotiating with Japan alongside our NAFTA partners through TPP would deliver enhanced benefits to Canadian manufacturers," explains Myers. "For example, it would ensure that companies with integrated cross-border supply chains could meet rules-of-origin requirements and take advantage of expanded market access.

"In addition, with manufacturers in Canada, the US and other Asia-Pacific countries facing similar market access issues in Japan, we are likely to have more negotiating leverage through a multilateral forum such as TPP."


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