The 54th U.S.-Japan Business Conference was held in Washington, DC on November 2 and 3. The conference is an annual meeting in which members discuss significant economic issues that the United States and Japan both face, before making several recommendations to the United States and Japanese governments. Members of the conference came from a large number of prominent companies and organizations from the two countries.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, following its post-war recovery, Japan entered a period of high economic growth. Widespread recognition of the need for improved mutual understanding persuaded the Japanese government to form the Joint Commission on Trade with the United States, which led to the U.S.-Japan Business Conference. The U.S.-Japan Business Council (USJBC) is a Washington, DC-based business association whose mission is to support US business interests in Japan and promote stronger economic ties between the United States and Japan.
The theme this year was “U.S.-Japan Ties at a Critical Juncture,” highlighting how the business communities of both countries prosper together through free trade agreements and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. On behalf of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae, who was meeting President Trump in Tokyo at the time, Minister of Economic Affairs Kazuhiro Suzuki gave a speech in the opening session. Following the speech, table discussions were held on the digital economy, financial services, energy, healthcare, travel, tourism, and transportation.
The conference was held during President Trump’s visit to Asia and the APEC summit. Additionally, the second round of the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue was held in October, making it an ideal timing to have such discussions promoting free and fair trade, as well as globalization and innovation. The results of the discussions were summarized in a joint statement, presented as one voice from the business communities. The 55th U.S.-Japan Business Conference will be held in Tokyo.
Economic ties between the United States and Japan remain strong. Japan was the fourth largest export destination for the United States in 2014, importing goods worth $62 billion. Additionally, exports to Japan accounted for 4.4% of overall US exports in 2016. The United States was the largest importer of goods from Japan in 2016, accounting for $130 billion in goods.
Heejae Park is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington D.C. and an Asan Washington Young Fellow with the Asan Academy in Seoul. He is also a student of Kyunghee University in South Korea.