Foreign Minister of the Asian nation admits that companies that operate in the national territory do so with difficulties due to pandemic and entry into force of the USMCA
Amid the pandemic by Covid-19, Japan works to strengthen relations with Mexico and Latin America, so visiting the country looking for support for the companies in the Asian country operating difficulties in national territory, he says the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi.
For this reason, he is making his first tour of the region as a foreign minister to achieve rapprochement and raise the need for Japanese companies to require greater flexibility to continue operating, he tells EL UNIVERSAL.
What is the reason for the visit to Mexico and how will it benefit the bilateral relationship?
Now that the international community is affected by the pandemic, I would like to develop my objective of a “benevolent and firm diplomacy” in the region and strengthen the relationship with those countries, including Mexico, partners with whom we share basic values such as democracy, the State of law and free trade.
During the visit, I seek to further deepen our relationship by promoting various cooperations, including those against Covid-19, as well as confirming the collaboration to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on rules.
After the entry into force of the Economic Association Agreement (EPA) between the two countries in 2005, the number of Japanese companies in Mexico has quadrupled, reaching 1,300, making it the largest company based in the region. However, they operate maintaining jobs with great difficulties due to the pandemic. In addition, its environment is changing with the entry into force of the USMCA. Given this, I want to dialogue with the Mexican government so that they can operate more easily.
Given that Mexico has been a non-permanent member of the Security Council since 2021, I would like to reaffirm the close cooperation in the regional and global spheres, such as the reform of the council and issues relating to North Korea, such as the kidnapping of Japanese citizens.
My intention is that this visit to Mexico marks a good start for Japanese diplomacy and the bilateral relationship in 2021.
Two years after the entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TIPAT or TPP-11), in what aspects did the Mexico-Japan relationship improve?
Since the entry into force of the Japan-Mexico EPA in 2005, the economic relationship, focused on trade and investment, has been deepening at a remarkable scale and speed. In particular, the export of agricultural, forestry, and fishery products from Mexico has increased significantly. Products such as pork, avocados, and asparagus are seen more frequently in supermarkets in our country, which have become familiar in our homes. On the other hand, the export of cars and auto parts from Japan has increased, as well as the number of new investments and companies has increased.
The TPP-11, to which I contributed in the negotiations as a minister, and which entered into force in December 2018, achieved a greater reduction and elimination of tariffs between both countries. An even stronger bilateral economic relationship is expected with him.
Both countries played a leading role in its entry into force. In addition, this month Japan assumed the Pro Tempore Presidency of the TPP-11 Commission, succeeding Mexico. Now that protectionist trends are observed in the world, we will continue to promote free trade together through TPP-11 by expanding its reach.
Will the Agreement of the Regional Integral Economic Association (RCEP), in which China participates and to which Japan acceded, diminish the relevance of the TIPAT or affect the economic-commercial relationship that Japan has with Mexico?
The RCEP, signed in November 2020, covers approximately 30% of global GDP and trade, as well as almost 50% of Japan’s total trade, and with it, further regional trade and investment liberalization and revitalization is expected.
The relevance of TPP-11 will not be diminished by the RCEP and its importance will be maintained as new common 21st century rules that are more balanced high standards will be disseminated to the world.
Four of the 11 member countries, Chile, Peru, Brunei, and Malaysia, have not yet completed their internal approval processes for the TPP-11. Japan, along with Mexico, will continue to exercise leadership for the early ratification of Chile and Peru.