Outline of the Results from the Meeting of the Co-chairs of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues

April 27, 2010

The Meeting of the Co-chairs of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues (henceforth referred to as the “Intergovernmental Committee”) was held on April 27 from 5:10 p.m. for approximately one hour and twenty minutes between Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Viktor Borisovich Khristenko, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, who visited Japan. The outline of the Meeting is as follows. This Meeting will be held upon the initiative of the Russian side.

  1. General Remarks

    (1) This Meeting of the Co-chairs followed the Trade and Investment Section Meeting, a vice-minister class meeting, held at the end of March 2010, that was agreed to be established at the Meeting of the Co-chairs of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues held in December 2009. The meeting included a recap of Japan-Russian economic relations and initiatives undertaken by the governments of Japan and Russia since the end of December 2009, as well as discussions about the direction of future work.

    (2) Minister Okada said that he hopes to proactively develop economic cooperation using the Intergovernmental Committee, while progress on the territorial issues underneath the basic policy of promoting politics and economics as “two wheels of a vehicle,” which has been confirmed by the leaders of both countries, is also desirable. Minister Khristenko said that it is important that the matters agreed to at the Meeting last year are being carried out steadily.

  2. Detailed Remarks

    (1) Both Ministers confirmed that the Intergovernmental Committee will place priority on working towards concrete progress for the cooperative projects being discussed at the government level in the Far East Russia and East Siberian areas. At this meeting the discussion particularly focused on the field of energy. Regarding the field of coal, Minister Okada said that he has hope for the progress of cooperation through the government and private mission planned to take place at the end of May 2010, and asked for Minister Khristenko’s cooperation.

    (2) In addition to traditional fields of cooperation regarding the Japan-Russia economic relationship, Minister Khristenko stated that he hopes to use the framework of the Intergovernmental Committee to realize cooperation related to the initiatives for economic modernization being undertaken by Russia that were referred to at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting held on April 13 on the occasion of the Nuclear Security Summit. He also expressed his hope for cooperation in the fields of energy efficiency, medical care, and space, which are included in the five directions for economic modernization proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, as bringing new possibilities to the Japan-Russia economic relationship.

    (3) Minister Okada emphasized that it is necessary to take concrete support measures at the government level to provide assistance for initiatives at the private level regarding these fields of cooperation. He particularly requested proactive initiatives on the Russian side. The Russian side promised to consider this issue.

    (4) In continuation of the Meeting of the Co-chairs of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues held in December 2009, Minister Okada requested that Russia quickly abolish all successive measures to raise tariffs. He also requested the swift provision of information to Japanese corporations regarding an investment environment (work permit, the simplification of customs procedures, etc.) initiated by President Medvedev.

    (5) Minister Khristenko gave an explanation of the following: A) In spite of the financial crisis of 2009, Russia’s overall tariff rate is declining, B) Limited measures to raise tariffs such as those on automobiles are based on Russian industrial policy, and are mid-term measures that supported to be in place until 2016 or 2017, C) Simplification of various procedures for the improvement of an investment environment are currently being worked on, and that arrangements have been made to provide information to Japanese corporations.

    (6) Regarding the Trade and Investment Section Meeting, both Ministers agreed to proceed forward with concrete initiatives by holding a Meeting of the Deputy Co-chairs, and to consider holding the vice-ministerial level Trade and Investment Section Meeting and ministerial level Intergovernmental Committee Meeting based on the situation of materializing these initiatives.