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Cablegate: Japanese Leaders' Statements On Wto Ministerial

VZCZCXRO8051
RR RUEHAG RUEHAP RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHGI RUEHHM RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHMR
RUEHPA RUEHPB RUEHRN RUEHSK
DE RUEHKO #3431 3520346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170346Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9525
INFO RUCNWTO/WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS TOKYO 003431

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/J AND EEB
USMISSION GENEVA FOR DSHARK
STATE PASS USTR FOR AUSTR ROHDE AND AUSTR CUTLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON EAGR PREL JA
SUBJECT: Japanese Leaders' Statements on WTO Ministerial
Postponement

1. The Japanese media covered statements by Japanese leaders made
December 15 concerning the recent decision by WTO Director General
Pascal Lamy to postpone a ministerial level meeting in Geneva many
had suspected would take place this week. Minister for Economy,
Trade, and Industry (METI) Nikai said he is disappointed WTO member
economies will miss the opportunity this year to establish
modalities for agriculture and non-agricultural market access
(NAMA). Major dailies Yomiuri and Nikkei both ran inside-page
reports on Prime Minister Aso's remarks, which he posted on the PM's
Official Residence Home Page, that called the decision to postpone
the ministerial "regrettable." Prime Minister Aso suggested Japan
will continue "patient negotiations to reach an early agreement."
Provided below is Minister Nikai's statement and the Embassy's
English translation of PM Aso's comments:

2. Begin text:

Statement by Minister Toshihiro Nikai - December 15, 2008.
Toshihiro Nikai, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan.

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy recommended on December 12th that
the proposed Ministerial Meeting on the Doha Round negotiations
should not be held this year; 48 hours have elapsed since then, and
it has become clear that this will be the case. We are disappointed
to lose the final opportunity to establish modalities for
Agriculture and NAMA this year.

We will continue our efforts to ensure that the Ministerial can be
held as early as possible.

Under the present economic and financial circumstances, the
importance of maintaining and strengthening a free and open trade
system has increased further.

Japan remains fully committed to achieving an early conclusion of
the Doha Round in close cooperation with fellow WTO members.
Further progress needs to be made, not only in Agriculture and NAMA,
where revised Chairs' texts have been issued, but also in other
negotiating areas such as Rules and Services. In particular, we
call for a new text for Rules to be issued as early as possible.

We also call on all governments to join us in continuing efforts to
restrain protectionism, in particular by undertaking in good faith
the commitments made at the Summit on Financial Markets and the
World Economy and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting not to raise
new barriers to investment or to trade for the next 12 months.

End text.

3. Begin text:

Prime Minister Aso's comment on WTO Doha Round - December 15, 2008

In the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy and the
APEC Summit held earlier, strong statements were issued regarding
the WTO Doha Round trade talks. Despite these statements, a
ministerial meeting has been put off and a modalities agreement is
unlikely to be reached by the end of this year. That is
regrettable.

Given the current serious economic situation, it is necessary to
grow the global economy through expanded trade. Our nation will
continue to persistently make efforts to bring about an agreement in
the Doha Round at an early date. In the agricultural sector, on
which various discussions were conducted in past negotiations, Japan
will continue to strengthen its domestic industry.

In an effort to resist moves for protectionism, our nation is
determined to strongly call on the WTO member nations at its
meetings to refrain from introducing new barriers in the trade and
investment areas, including export restrictions.

End text.

SCHIEFFER

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