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CEO: Improvement of business climate may help Russia, Japan overcome decline in trade

December 15, 2016, 21:26 UTC+3 TOKYO

Export from Japan has been declining for three years in a row

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© Yury Smityuk/TASS

TOKYO, December 15. /TASS/. Improvement of business climate between Russia and Japan will help them overcome current decline in the bilateral trade, CEO of Marubeni Corporation Teruo Asada said in an interview with TASS.

He is also head of the Japanese-Russian economic committee at the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren).

"In 2015, the volume of bilateral trade fell sharply in comparison with 2014, when it reached its highest level. It decreased by 38.9% in comparison with the previous year and totaled about $20.8 bln."

Export from Japan has been declining for three years in a row, and last year the volume of imports from Russia also fell, Asada noted.

Earlier the volume of imports from Russia grew as part of increasing procurement of energy resources after major natural disasters in Japan in 2011.

This is the second largest drop in bilateral trade after 2009, when it decreased by 59% affected by the global financial crisis.

"But we cannot say that our potential is fully revealed, taking into account, in particular, the economic strength of Japan, and Russia, the size of their markets, geographical proximity. I do hope that the Russian party will work on improvement of the business climate including such issues such as complicated administrative procedures, unclear legal regulations, nontransparent and arbitrary rules in export and import sector," the Japanese businessman said.

He stressed that that this will give impetus to overcoming the existing problems and the development of bilateral economic relations.

Earlier this month, in an interview with TASS Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko attributed the decline in the bilateral trade to the oil price drop, the ruble rate decline and problems in the Russian economy.

However, regardless of these difficulties, Russia remains a "forefront of possibilities" for Japanese business, the minister said

"Both the volume of mutual trade and the volume of investment are still insignificant in bilateral economic relations compared to the potential of our ties. That is why, as it seems to me, the Japanese-Russian contacts have big prospects," the minister noted.

"Japan and Russia are two great neighboring powers and they mutually complement each other. The implementation of bilateral projects will also contribute to the economic growth of our country," Seko said.

In late November, at a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the capital of Peru during the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Russian President Vladimir Putin also noted that in the first six months of 2016, the bilateral trade turnover decreased by 36% compared to the same period last year. Putin said it was mainly due to the global market conditions and some factors caused by "the consequences of political actions of third countries".

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