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Obstacles to Japanese Investment in Latin America

Date & Time

Sep. 7, 2018
11:30am – 1:00pm


5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Obstacles to Japanese Investment in Latin America

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Amid U.S. backpedaling on trade agreements in Latin America, the region's governments have increasingly looked elsewhere for new partners and to deepen existing economic relationships. Though China gets the most attention, Japan, which shares the region’s strong democratic values, is also a priority partner for trade and investment. For its part, Japan has sought to expand its presence in Latin America. It has found willing partners, including fellow members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership such as Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

From 2005 to 2009, Japanese exports to Latin America increased faster than to any other region. In March, the country announced a new partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank to support public-private partnerships in the region. The White House has welcomed, and even encouraged, that trend, seeing Japanese engagement as a force multiplier in the Western Hemisphere and as a counter-weight to Chinese influence.

However, while opportunities abound in the Americas for Japanese firms, from natural resources and large consumer markets to infrastructure and energy, obstacles to Japanese investment and engagement remain. Please join us on Friday, September 7 at 11:30 a.m. to discuss these barriers, the geopolitical implications of deeper Japanese engagement in Latin America, and the solutions that the Japanese private sector is seeking from governments in and outside the region.

Opening Remarks

Cynthia J. Arnson
Director, Latin American Program
Wilson Center

The Economic Relationship between Japan and Latin America

Masahiko Uchino
Attaché, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Second Secretary, Economic Section
Embassy of Japan


Ryoji Watanabe
Senior Analyst
Sumitomo Corporation of the Americas

Koji Okawa
Senior Executive Engineer
Toyota Motor North America

Barbara Kotschwar
Adjunct Professor
Georgetown University

Shihoko Goto
Senior Associate, Asia Program
Wilson Center


Benjamin N. Gedan
Director, Argentina Project
Senior Adviser, Latin American Program
Wilson Center

Image Source:  Flickr

Hosted By

Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Argentina Project

The Argentina Project of the Latin American Program, aspires to be the premiere institution for policy-relevant research on the political and economic reforms underway in Argentina. The project will be a valuable resource for senior officials in the U.S. and Argentine governments, lawmakers, investors, diplomats, and journalists.  Read more

Asia Program

The Asia Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

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