The 20th annual meeting between the California Chamber of Commerce and Japan business leaders highlighted California’s continuing interdependence with one of its largest trade and investment partners.
Leading the Japanese business delegation were Mr. Hironori Kobayashi, Chair of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA) and Director for the Americas of All Nippon Airways ANA Co., Ltd., as well as Ms. Tasha Yoroz, President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC) and Managing Attorney for Yorozu Law Group.
Representing the CalChamber at the Wednesday, September 8 virtual meeting were Allan Zaremberg, retiring president and CEO, Jennifer Barrera, incoming president and CEO, Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, and Nikki Ellis, International Trade Assistant.
Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California
The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC) was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1951 to promote business, mutual understanding, and good will between Japan and the United States. Headquartered in Foster City, JCCNC focuses on serving the needs of its members in Northern California, including San Francisco, Silicon Valley, the East Bay, and the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.
JCCNC’s roots can be traced as far back as the early 1900s when Japanese American businesses started to thrive in California. Throughout its history, JCCNC has helped its members to better understand American cultural and business practices. The Chamber provides networking opportunities for around 260 members comprised of Japan-affiliated and California-based businesses.
JCCNC has a long history of building bridges with local communities and supporting charitable efforts. As part of its continued outreach to Californians, JCCNC has led annual visits to Sacramento to greet governors, legislators, and other officials to promote goodwill and strong relations between California and Japan.
Japanese Business Association of Southern California
The Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA), founded in 1961, is a nonprofit organization, consisting of nearly 500 Japanese corporations doing business across Southern California. JBA represents the interests of its members by enhancing the stature of Japanese corporations in the community and by improving the business environment for Japanese corporations. In support of its mission, JBA conducts surveys and disseminates information on the impact of Japanese corporations on Southern California’s employment and economy.
JBA also promotes business, trade and good will between Southern California and Japan through three primary activities:
- Providing membership services and facilitating networking among the members
- Supporting local education and cultural exchanges between the United States and Japan
- Contributing to and maintaining harmony with local communities.
The JBA and JCCNC meeting covered a variety of themes, including California’s current tight labor market and ways Japanese companies could overcome this challenge. State and federal labor, energy, environmental, visa and trade policies also were on the agenda. The group also spoke about the many important Japanese contributions to the California economy, as Japan is the top foreign direct investor in California. Lastly, the group asked the CalChamber to share its top priorities.
CPTPP – Trans Pacific Partnership renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement / TPP-11
Eleven Pacific Rim countries (including Japan) signed the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday afternoon, March 8, 2018 in Santiago, Chile, finalizing the trade and investment agreement just over a year after the American withdrawal left its fate in question.
The pact, renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (can be abbreviated as CPTPP or TPP-11), retains all of the tariff reductions and eliminations from the original version signed in 2016 by the 11 nations and the U.S. It suspends 22 other provisions, including some intellectual property rules.
The CPTPP reduces tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13% of the global economy — a total of $10 trillion in gross domestic product. With the United States, it would have represented 40%. Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of nearly 500 million people, making it one of the world’s largest trade agreements.
Britain made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Monday, February 1, 2021 seeking membership of the 11-country deal to open new avenues for post-Brexit trade and influence. The CPTPP removes 95% of tariffs among its members: Japan, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, Chile and Malaysia. The CalChamber supports considering the United States re-entering the CPTPP.
Strong California-Japan Ties
California continues to be the top exporting state to Japan, accounting for more than 16.6% of total U.S. exports. Japan has remained California’s fourth largest export market since 2010, after Mexico, Canada and China. California exports to Japan, the world’s third largest economy, totaled $10.65 billion in 2020. Computers and electronic products accounted for 18.9% of total exports. Imports into California from Japan were $20.36 billion in 2020, with transportation equipment accounting for over a quarter of total imports. California is currently the top importing state in the United States for products from Japan.
In California, Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) through foreign-owned enterprises (FOEs). Japanese FOEs in California in 2020 provided 115,420 jobs through 3,672 firms amounting to $10.6 billion in wages, down from 121,223 jobs through 3,880 firms amounting to $10.988 billion in wages in 2019. The top jobs by sector are: manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and professional/business services. (World Trade Center Los Angeles FDI Report, June 2021).
The annual report prepared by JCCNC and JBA includes the following: It is said that the first arrival of a Japanese person to California was in 1850. Following this, the first official Japanese delegation to the United States arrived in San Francisco on March 17, 1860.
Since then, California and Japan have built a strong relationship through various historical, cultural, and economic events. California and Japan have established 98 sister cities—25% of all sister cities in the United States.
For more information on Japan, please visit the CalChamber’s Japan Trading Partner Portal.