On February 10, 2017, as President Trump and Prime Minister Abe, met at the White House for the first U.S.-Japan summit of the new administration, we gathered for the 2nd annual JAPAN UPDATE HOUSTON CONFERENCE to hear experts from the U.S. and Japan weigh in the future of U.S.-Japan trade relations.
At the forefront of the conversations were the challenges, trends, and strategies shaping U.S.-Japan trade. Discussions also touched on the impact of U.S.-Japan trade on the Houston area and the relevance of U.S.-Japan trade in maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Dr. Mireya SOLIS, senior fellow and the Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies at the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies, addressed issues pertaining to the U.S. domestic atmosphere on trade. While the U.S. and Japan has had a long history of trade friction, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provided a compromise in the form of an alignment of interests. In SOLIS's view, a post-TPP agenda will see Japan maintaining the TPP while they gauge changing U.S. trade policies.
Yorizumi WATANABE, Professor of International Political Economy at Keio University, highlighted benefits of free trade between the U.S. and Japan in the automotive sector. WATANABE also stressed that reinforcing economic cooperation between the U.S. and Japan is critical to ensuring China becomes a responsible partner in the international community.
Click here to view WATANABE's presentation.
Bob HARVEY, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, shared how the Houston-Japan relationship is the most mature relationships Houston has with a foreign country. Japanese investment in Houston has doubled in the last decade, and there is now over $4.9 billion in trade between Houston and Japan.
John MOSELEY, General Manager of the Trade Development Department of the Port of Houston Authority, noted how Japan is the largest exporter to Houston in terms of tonnage per year. Japan also ranks as the 4th largest export destination in terms of volume. With the opening of the Panama Canal, the Port of Houston Authority's anticipates even more interaction with Japan.
Ambassador J. Thomas SCHIEFFER, founder and CEO of Envoy International LLC, turned attention to the underappreciated points of the U.S.-Japan alliance and free trade. Noting that 20% of all U.S. jobs are from Japan, SCHIEFFER declared that "the time to improve trade with Japan is now."