India, Japan commit to resist protectionism

Modi and Abe reaffirmed their commitment to work together to implement the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial decisions and make the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference a success.

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Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe shake hands during the India – Japan Annual Summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Thursday. (PTI)

India and Japan today committed to resist protectionism while making a strong case for rule based multilateral trading system for sustainable growth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held strategic discussions on a wide range of issues under the Special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries. “The two Prime Ministers underlined the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and enhancing free, fair, and open trade, for achieving sustainable growth and development. “They committed to resist protectionism including unfair trade practices and underlined the need to remove trade- distorting measures,” said a joint statement issued after the meeting.

Modi and Abe reaffirmed their commitment to work together to implement the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial decisions and make the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference a success. They also decided to steadily implement WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Japan reaffirmed its support to India’s membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a forum for 21 Pacific Rim member economies. The two leaders decided to work towards liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. “They reaffirmed to cooperate towards conclusion of a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, in order to achieve a balanced outcome,” the statement said.

Modi and Abe also reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation and to working with partners to tackle excess capacity in steel. In this regard, they called for the removal of market- distorting subsidies and other types of support by governments and related entities. “They also reaffirmed their commitment to developing concrete policy solutions at the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity by November 2017,” the statement said.

They welcomed the progress made in the bilateral IT and IoT cooperation through the bilateral Joint Working Group on IT and Electronics, in particular by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NASSCOM and IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) of Japan. The two leaders also welcomed the opening of the first lithium-ion battery factory in India by a joint venture of three Japanese companies – Suzuki, Toshiba and Denso as well as a new automotive factory this year.

It was also decided to further promote public and private sector collaboration to make environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies accessible and affordable to the general public. They underlined the importance of support measures to promote eco-friendly vehicles including in terms of ‘Make in India’ and transfer of technology.

Modi updated Abe about his government’s efforts for the country’s economic and social development. Prime Minister Abe reiterated Japan’s strong support for the initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, and ‘Skill India’.

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