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Today in Ottawa, Japanese and Canadian negotiators concluded the sixth round of talks towards a bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds the progress to date and calls on both governments to accelerate efforts to conclude an ambitious and comprehensive agreement.

The EPA will significantly lower tariff and non-tariff barriers for Canadian exports from key sectors such as agri-food, forestry, energy, manufacturing and financial services. Despite highly complementary economies, trade between the two countries has actually dropped by several billion dollars over the past decade.

The opportunity for Canada is augmented by the fact that the Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is taking unprecedented steps to stimulate growth through a combination of fiscal, monetary and structural measures.

Although Canada and Japan are negotiating with each other through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the EPA offers unique benefits. It can address relationship-specific issues such as energy and food security. A bilateral agreement would also strengthen each others’ hands in the TPP and provide a hedge against potential delays in these complicated, multi-party talks.

In November, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce will travel to Tokyo with a group of Canadian business leaders to launch the Canada-Japan Chambers Council. In cooperation with the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, this initiative seeks to raise awareness of the EPA in Japan and energize the bilateral business community to help push forward negotiations.

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