Japanese, US business leaders call for improved supply chains

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Japanese and US business leaders agreed on Thursday that supply chains for essentials need to be further diversified among like-minded countries as the coronavirus pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities.

After two days of talks, the business councils of the two countries said cooperation among allies, as well as between the public and private sectors, is needed to build “resilient and reliable” supply chains and mitigate losses. risks for businesses.

The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains for a range of products from semiconductors to COVID-19 vaccines. The global chip tightening and parts shortages due to plant closures in Southeast Asia have clouded prospects for a sustained economic recovery led by manufacturers.

The councils said in a joint statement that “relocation”, or bringing production back home, is “neither realistic nor desirable,” adding that the key to building strong supply chains is their diversification between. different nations, especially like-minded ones.

The leaders also called on the governments of Japan and the United States to support corporate efforts to tackle human rights abuses, including forced labor, in global supply chains, an issue which has gained attention amid concerns about human rights conditions in the Muslim Uyghur community. minority in the Xinjiang region, in the far west of China.

The Japanese and US governments are seeking to deepen their cooperation to strengthen supply chains for critical products such as computer chips and batteries. The move comes amid growing rivalry between the United States and China as they vie for technological superiority.

Business leaders urged their governments to promote and adhere to “high level” trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

China and Taiwan are both seeking to join the 2018 free trade pact without the United States, which withdrew as President Donald Trump prioritized bilateral deals. Japan is a member of the 11-nation framework.

About 60 business leaders from Japan and the United States discussed various topics, including managing the impact of the pandemic on decarbonization, at the virtual meeting hosted by the Japan-US Business Council and the US-Japan Business Council.

They said vaccination certificates were essential to a swift resumption of cross-border travel and urged the two countries to create a roadmap for the “step-by-step” lifting of entry restrictions.

“We encourage governments to remove barriers to private sector collaboration by facilitating a globally consistent regulatory framework for international travel that establishes common standards and reciprocal relaxation of science-based entry restrictions, such as recognition of accepted vaccination documents issued in the other country, ”the statement says.

Regarding decarbonization, a key theme that will affect companies in the years to come, the councils welcomed the two commitments made by their governments to achieve carbon neutrality.

Climate targets set by governments should be “attainable, sustainable” and developed in close coordination with the private sector, the statement said.

Business leaders called for clarifying policies to achieve the desired energy mix so that companies can boost investment in innovative technologies.

Japan and the United States both aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – which are responsible for global warming – and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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