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WTO praises Japan for avoiding protectionism
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Feb 21, 2013

Japan won plaudits on Thursday from fellow WTO nations for not opting for economic protectionism amid the global financial crisis and in the aftermath of its 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster.

"Members commended Japan for avoiding protectionism," Pakistan's trade ambassador Shahid Bashir said as the 158-country WTO wrapped up a review of Tokyo's policies.

The World Trade Organization monitors respect for the rules of global commerce established by its member states, which submit to regular reviews.

Japan's review session was chaired by Bashir.

"Members look forward to a swift recovery of Japan's economy, which will enable it to become once again an engine for economic growth in the world economy," he said in a statement.

"Many remarked that Japan is still the third largest economy in the world and as such it plays a vital role for all WTO members," he added.

The review nonetheless flagged up concerns about certain areas of Japanese trade policy.

It highlighted the agriculture, fishing and services sectors, where foreign players face hurdles when they try to access the country's market.

"Macroeconomic policies being pursued, particularly by the new government, can help Japan to recover from the recent economic downturn, but they need to be accompanied by far-reaching structural reforms," said Bashir.

"Trade liberalisation can play a key role in these reforms, to stimulate competition and improve productivity, especially in agriculture and services," he added.


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Japan logs worst monthly trade deficit of $17.4 bn
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 20, 2013
Japan logged its worst ever monthly trade deficit in January despite an upturn in exports as the yen's recent sharp drop pushed fuel costs higher, official data showed Wednesday. The world's third-biggest economy is mired in recession and a mood of optimism in the stock market and among analysts has so far failed to translate into good macro-economic figures. The finance ministry data s ... read more

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