THOMAS J. DONOHUE
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my privilege to welcome back to the U.S. Chamber His Excellency, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. Mr. Prime Minister, we were honored to host you here at the Chamber during your official state visit in 2015. And we thank you for making time to join us again today.
The U.S.-Japanese relationship is among the most valuable in the world—and the lifeblood of that relationship is the robust trade and investment that flows between our nations.
Our countries do over $250 billion in trade in goods and services every year. U.S. businesses, farmers, and ranchers are top exporters to Japan. American companies have major operations in key industries like pharmaceuticals and medical devices, information technology, and financial services.
Japan has $411 billion invested in the U.S. economy, directly supporting 840,000 jobs. U.S. and Japanese companies are partners in many ventures across industries. And there are enormous opportunities to do even more.
But, as you all know, our partnership goes beyond the goods and services we trade and the investments we make in one another’s economies. Our partnership is crucial to stability and growth around the world, and especially in the thriving Asia-Pacific region.
Working together, we have promoted the values of democracy, economic freedom, and human rights, and have worked to shape commercial relationships so that they drive prosperity and growth. We have helped set the stage for greater openness, stronger cooperation, higher standards, and new opportunities throughout the Asia-Pacific.
And under Prime Minister Abe’s leadership, Japan was willing to lead with reforms and set a tone for liberalization across Asia.
It is crucial that the United States and Japan maintain that leadership.
But the U.S. cannot lead if we allow ourselves to fall behind in the region and be shut out of the world’s most vibrant markets. Our absence will leave a vacuum that will be filled by others.
And our nation cannot Hire American if we do not Sell American—and that means going where the customers are. The Asia-Pacific is growing, and it will soon be home to two-thirds of the world’s middle class consumers.
The realities that have pushed our countries to pursue comprehensive, rules-based economic cooperation in the region have not disappeared, and they’re not going to.
So the Chamber stands ready to work with the new U.S. administration, and with valued partners like Japan, to devise a strategy for solving common problems and achieving shared goals.
And we will continue to advocate for greater trade and investment opportunities in Japan, while welcoming Japanese business to our shores.
Thank you very much.
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