The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

At the end of April, the ACCJ carried out one of our key annual events: the DC Doorknock (DCDK). Always an important event for the ACCJ, the DCDK in previous years has focused largely on strengthening relationships with officials in the Administration and on Capitol Hill who are closest to US–Japan relations. This year, with Congressional consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being a major topic, the DCDK focused on the unique role of the ACCJ and demonstrated the importance of our members’ voices in the TPP dialogue.

Because the US and Japanese economies are the two largest of the 12 involved in the TPP agreement, the ACCJ—as the representative organization for US business in Japan—had the unique opportunity to contribute to the TPP dialogue. To share the experience and expertise that our members have on the Japanese economy, and to highlight the benefits of the TPP for US companies doing business in Japan, we worked to include in the delegation a number of Japan-based CEOs and ACCJ leaders involved in Asia–Pacific regional roles.

Through meetings with members of Congress and key leaders in Washington, we communicated the ACCJ’s support for the ratification of TPP by the end of 2016. In particular, we emphasized the importance of the Japanese market for US business, the opportunity presented by the TPP to further cement US–Japan relations through bilateral leadership on transparency and rules-based trade, and the critical role the TPP plays in continued economic reform in Japan through Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Third Arrow.” Given the Abe Administration’s efforts to implement a comprehensive strategy, including legislation to enact the TPP in the recently passed budget, a sense of urgency surrounds the need to resolve outstanding matters on the TPP and move forward with the agreement in the US. Meanwhile, the ACCJ will work to track Japan’s implementation of the TPP commitments, and has already called for continued bilateral dialogue on structural issues.

Amid ongoing concern in Washington about trade, the DCDK was a great opportunity to share the experience of ACCJ members who do business in Japan and throughout the Asia–Pacific region, and to help inform the debate in a thoughtful way. We hope that the interactions we had with leaders on both sides of the aisle in Washington will stimulate productive dialogue on the TPP and, ultimately, lead to action on this important agreement. The ACCJ looks forward to continuing to support ratification of the TPP in both the US and Japan, and to working with members on follow-up action as the agreement comes into force.

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