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A government panel endorsed two interim reports Friday calling for the government, businesses and academia to work together to prepare for a new round of global trade negotiations scheduled to begin in 2000.

Presented at a meeting of the WTO Committee of the Industrial Structure Council, an advisory panel to the minister of international trade and industry, the two interim reports spell out strategies for Japan to follow in the upcoming round of multilateral negotiations under the World Trade Organization.

A report on trade and investment stresses the importance for Japan to get the Geneva-based trade watchdog to decide on rules governing investments to encompass economically troubled Asia and other developing countries.

Such rules should serve to complement a developed economies-oriented multilateral agreement on investment, which is being negotiated by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, officials of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said.

Investment rules should not be implemented in a way to burden developing countries, the report notes, urging the WTO to pay due consideration toward their economic predicaments.

To facilitate cross-border investment for the sake of mutual economic and technological development, each country must deregulate and provide foreign investors with a transparent legal system, a fair and stable business environment and easier access to market information.

The report also suggests that the WTO should be required to take measures to address concerns that greater cross-border investment may have a negative effect on the environment and employment.

The second report deals with services. It urges Japan to take initiatives toward global liberalization, structural reform of the service industry, establishment of information-oriented rules, implementation of the 1995 General Agreement on Trade and Services, creation of a more favorable environment for trade liberalization, and cooperation with other international organizations.

Using these reports as a springboard, the MITI committee will further deliberate on issues including reduction of tariffs for industrial goods, improvement of secure investment rules overseas and of efficiency of service industries, promotion of competitive global business environment and prevention of abusive antidumping rules.

The committee also cites intellectual property rights and electric commerce as the wellspring of the vitality of new industries.

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