On November 17, 2021, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced the formation of the “U.S.-Japan Partnership on Trade”. The intent of this trade initiative is to deepen cooperation between the two countries and reaffirm their “shared commitment to strengthen this alliance through regular engagement on trade-related matters of importance to both countries” according to an announcement issued by the USTR.

The initial areas of focus will include: (i) third-country concerns; (ii) cooperation in regional and multilateral trade-related fora; (iii) labor-related and environment-related priorities; (iv) supportive digital ecosystems; and (v) trade facilitation. The first formal meetings under this partnership will occur in early 2022, with periodic meetings to be held regularly thereafter “to advance a shared agenda of cooperation across a broad range of issue areas as well as to address bilateral trade issues of concern to either side.”