The need for Japan and other Asian countries to make quick decisions on economic policies is growing in step with the pace of economic globalization, according to Thomas Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Donohue, who heads the largest business lobby in the U.S., said that transparency and open markets will be the keys to building a competitive economy in a global marketplace.
Donohue arrived in Tokyo Sunday for three-day visit in which he will hold discussions with Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, government officials and Japanese business leaders, including Takashi Imai, chairman of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), the nation’s most powerful business lobby.
“We are here to discuss significant challenges that both countries face and how we can work together to most productively deal with them,” he said.
Among the major issues he hopes to discuss include population problems, such as the rise in retirees and the diminishing numbers of younger people, economic recovery in Japan and other Asian nations, the acceptance of China into the World Trade Organization, economic globalization, and the development of technology in e-commerce and other industries, said Donohue.
While signs of a real economic recovery in Japan have begun to appear recently, Donohue said a new tax treaty between the two nations will help the nation attract investment from the U.S.
Noting that the U.S. has updated more than 28 tax treaties and protocols with its trading partners in recent years, he said he would ask Japanese business leaders for their help in supporting a new tax treaty that would lighten the burden on U.S. firms in Japan. The Japan-U.S. Income Tax Treaty was established in 1971.
Regarding the tire recall problems being experienced by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of tire maker Bridgestone Corp., Donohue said the U.S. Chamber would support the beleaguered companies by, for instance, lobbying the U.S. Congress and seeking out other businesses for help.
“This is not a matter of who is wrong and who is right, but a matter of finding out what were the problems, fixing them and compensating the people who were injured,” he said. “The question is: Do Bridgestone, Firestone and the Ford Motor Company and everybody else work together and show the American people they are going to deal with this problem immediately? If they do, they are not going to lose public trust.”
Donohue will visit Hong Kong and Beijing after completing his stay in Japan.
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