DUBAI: The non-oil trade between the UAE and Japan reached about $14.6 billion in 2016, and the countries are working continuously to strengthen their economic ties and common interests, according to a recent report. The UAE Ministry of Economy has recently released a new report covering a comprehensive review of Japan’s trade policy and a closer look at the latest developments in the Japanese economy. The report also includes a review on Japan’s recent move to improve its investment climate, bolster its public finances and raise investor confidence in its business sectors. It also addresses the most significant features of the bilateral trade relations between the UAE and Japan.
According to Hind Al Youha, director for foreign trade policies, Ministry of Economy, the ministry is keen on increasing the public and private sector’s awareness on trade and investment systems with key partners of the UAE, specifically through the monitoring and analysis of global reports and studies covering economic developments of various countries around the world. It also points out that UAE exports unworked aluminium, copper scrap, propylene polymers, discs, tapes and solid storage devices to Japan, while also importing cars, parts and accessories of vehicles, trucks, buses and tires. The report pointed out that the real gross domestic product (GDP) of Japan declined by 0.03 per cent in 2014– falling private consumption with a decline in purchasing power and investment, which has prompted the authorities to stop increasing the consumption tax until October 2019. A check on its GDP in 2015 showed a growth of 0.5 per cent, demonstrating that the structure of Japan’s economy has remained virtually unchanged as the services sector accounted for the major share of it by almost 72 per cent. The report also acknowledges Japan’s position as the fourth largest exporter and importer of goods and services in the world. Imports and exports of goods declined between 2014 and 2015, resulting in weak global demand and lower commodity prices and a deficit in Japanese merchandise trade. Exports and imports of services declined during the same period. In addition, the deficit in the balance of trade in services decreased, and increased the current account surplus increased significantly in 2015 amounted to 3.3 per cent of GDP.
According to the ministry’s findings, the Japanese government continued to use almost the same general trade policies, with the same objectives that were adopted since 2015. To improve its competitiveness, Japan participated across all activities initiated by the World Trade Organization (WTO), contributed to the negotiations on free trade agreements and continued domestic reforms. Furthermore, Japan has acceded to the Trade Facilitation Agreement and has not yet registered its record since the beginning of 2015 without any complaint against it before the WTO Dispute Settlement Body. The report also mentions that foreign direct investment (FDI) to Japan has contributed to four per cent of its GDP in 2015 and is less than other developed major economies. In March 2015, Japan announced five measures to attract foreign businesses, including the strengthening of the educational environment for children foreigners. The report also outlined some of the conditions set by the government to invest in medical professions. Lastly, the ministry’s report also highlighted the major changes in the regulatory framework of Japanese government purchases, which includes amendments in the May 2016 ‘multi-bidding system’ wherein two or more companies are allowed to bid on an offered project, it stated.