The Japanese Government needs to promote the participation of as many developing countries as possible in the Agreement on Government Procurement.
There are also many cases where unfair conditions are imposed on government procurement through discriminatory regulations such as the obligation to procure main materials domestically and the addition of a certain percentage on top of the procurement price of reported products at the time of tender. Such discriminatory treatment on the part of governments should be eliminated and the non-discriminatory treatment of all bidding parties ensured.
We hope to see the work being undertaken between the WTO and the World Customs Organization (WCO) on harmonization of non-preferential rules of origin, lead to the implementation of objective and binding rules of origin which are applied, not arbitrarily for the purpose of specific trade goals, but universally and neutrally in all aspects. These standardized rules of origin should impose a minimal administrative burden and allow easy determination of the country of origin.
Regional trade agreements such as at EU and NAFTA are creating new impediments for extra-regional countries in the form of higher local procurement rates, arbitrary operation of rules of origin and tariff hikes imposed on new members, and there are cases where this is standing in the way of the activities of Japanese companies. To redress problems caused by such protectionist measures which run counter to WTO spirit, it will be important to improve the effectiveness of regional trade agreement examinations, with a thorough review needed of the examination mechanism.
Japanese companies operating abroad are experiencing problems due to the complex and protracted customs clearance procedures and unreliable tax refund systems of some WTO members. We ask that simplification, accelerated procedure period and increased transparency of customs and tax refund procedures be addressed as part of the WTO's work on trade facilitation.
Prohibition of anti-competitive practice in each country is important in ensuring facile trade and investment flows. With many developing countries yet to even develop competition laws, caution will be needed in advancing considerations in this area.
In addition, excessive extra-territorial application of competition law should not be permitted.
Along with consideration of trade-related competition policy, we also hope to see vigorous WTO discussion on the abuse of anti-dumping measures and other trade measures which distort the competition condition.
Not only do different countries have different environment-related measures and policies, but no international consensus has yet been reached on the impact of trade on the environment or means to verify it. At this point in time, it would therefore be inadequate to bring various ideas on environmental protection to the WTO while these still lack objectivity. Moreover, members should not be permitted to take unilateral trade-restricting measures on the grounds of environment protection concerns such as cross-border pollution and global-scale environmental pollution accompanying production processes.
At the same time, the WTO should recognize clearly trade-restricting measures based on multilateral environment agreements which have international consensus (the Montreal Protocol, the Basel Convention and the Washington Treaty).