Japan-China Relations

April 14, 2019
Fifth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue 1
Fifth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue 2
Fifth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue 3

On April 14, the Fifth Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue was held in Beijing from 4:00 p.m. for approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Overview

(1) When Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, visited the People’s Republic of China in October 2006, the leaders of Japan and China agreed to establish the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue. This meeting has been held four times. The fifth meeting was attended by several economy-related ministers from both sides, with Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, serving as the chair on the Japanese side and H.E. Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister, serving as the chair on the Chinese side, the same format as the fourth meeting last year.

(2) In anticipation of the likely visit to Japan this year by H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of China, a wide range of views were exchanged at this meeting regarding topics such as: (i) macroeconomic policy; (ii) bilateral economic cooperation and exchanges; (iii) key cooperation under the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue framework (Japan-China business cooperation in third countries and Japan-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue); and (iv) regional and world economies and responses to global issues.

(Reference) Main participants

Japanese side:
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Japanese side chair); Mr. Takamori Yoshikawa, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Mr. Keiichi Ishii, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Mr. Yoshiaki Harada, Minister of the Environment; Ms. Satsuki Katayama, Minister of State for Regional Revitalization; Mr. Ryosei Tanaka, State Minister of Cabinet Office (financial services, economic and fiscal policy); Mr. Shinichi Isa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Finance; Mr. Hiroto Izumi, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; and others

Chinese side:
Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister (Chinese side chair); Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce; Mr. Miao Wei, Minister of Industry and Information Technology; Mr. Li Ganjie, Minister of Ecology and Environment; Mr. Han Changfu, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Mr. Zhang Yong, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission; and others.

2. Topics

(1) Macroeconomic policy

Both sides explained their macroeconomic policies, fiscal policies, and economic situation. They also exchanged views regarding the current close bilateral economic relationship, the importance of promoting cooperation in the economic sector, and the importance of multilateral free trade systems including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and of regional cooperation.

(2) Bilateral economic cooperation and exchanges

Both sides discussed the importance of promoting trade and investment in accordance with international rules and practices and of improving the business environment. In this context, the Japanese side conveyed its position on the Chinese structural issues, such as forced technology transfer, protection of intellectual property rights, data management, and industrial subsidies. Furthermore, the Japanese side requested elimination and mitigation of China’s import restrictions on Japanese food products and other items, and welcomed the agreement in principle regarding an agreement on animal health and quarantine (link), which will serve as an important step for lifting the ban on Japanese beef and other exports to China. Both sides confirmed that they would work together towards the swift conclusion of this agreement.

Both sides also shared the view regarding further strengthening Japan-China financial cooperation, such as prompt designation of Japanese banks as Renminbi Clearing Banks and securities market cooperation, collaboration towards the early entry into force of the Japan-China Social Security Agreement, enhancing cooperation in the energy saving and environmental sectors, and advancing tourism exchanges.

(3) Key cooperation under the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue framework

With regard to third country business cooperation, it was decided that both sides would continue to materialize business to business cooperation, including following up on the 52 memorandums of cooperation between Japanese and Chinese private companies and organizations signed in October 2018, in a way that is beneficial to third countries and in line with international standards through such opportunities as the Committee for the Promotion of Japan-China Business Cooperation in Third Countries and the Japan-China Forum on Third Country Business Cooperation.

In addition, both sides welcomed the holding of the First Japan-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue (link). Both sides confirmed that they would continue discussions on developing standards that will lead to market creation, what possible international collaboration for smart cities and super cities should be, as well as concrete progress and challenges in the area of intellectual property that is essential to developing an environment for innovation cooperation.

(4) Regional and world economies and responses to global issues

Both sides exchanged views regarding: collaboration for a successful G20 Osaka Summit, concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of the year, accelerating negotiations on a Japan-China-ROK free trade agreement (FTA), and advancing World Trade Organization (WTO) reform; importance of resolving the issues of industry subsidies and excess capacity; collaboration towards holding dialogues on resolving global issues (e.g., climate change, marine litter, biodiversity) and in the field of development, among other matters.

3. Next meeting

Both sides shared the view that they will hold the sixth meeting in Japan at an appropriate time convenient for both sides.

[Reference] Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue (Overview)

When Prime Minister Abe visited China in October 2006, the leaders of Japan and China agreed to establish the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue from the standpoint of the “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests,” as a platform of holding regular dialogue among economic ministers for discussing solutions to problems and promotion of cooperation in the area of economics from a broad perspective. A launching conference took place in Tokyo in the presence of the Prime Ministers of Japan and China on the occasion of the visit to Japan by H.E. Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of China, in April 2007.

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