Japanese ambassador 'not giving up' on TPP, offers business tips to MSU marketin
Posted on October 12, 2016 18:43 pm CDT
By, Will Schmitt-Springfield News-Leader
After advising marketing students at Missouri State on how to build stronger business relationships, Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae expressed optimism for the passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Sasae and his wife are being shown around Springfield by Republican U.S. Rep. Billy Long. Their tour of the Show-Me state's southwest corner includes trips to College of the Ozarks near Branson and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
"I'm not giving up," Sasae said to reporters after his presentation. "I'm still hopeful. I trust the final good judgment of U.S. Congress and (the) American people."
The TPP, which includes a dozen countries (and does not include China), would get rid of tariffs in hopes of boosting trade. The deal has been agreed to but not ratified.
President Barack Obama has supported the TPP, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has vehemently opposed it, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, once a supporter, has flipped her stance and now opposes the international trade deal.
Long is a staunch TPP proponent and said he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when traveling to Japan to discuss the deal. He considered it unlikely that the deal would pass Congress and acknowledged that if Trump is elected president, the TPP is as good as dead.
The ambassador described a Japanese decision-making process that was slower and more focused on group decisions and mutual respect than in the U.S.
"They want to have trust before getting into business relations," Sasae told students.
Sasae, who has decades of experience in international relations, stressed that while he was not a businessman, his advice was relevant for the marketing students. The seasoned diplomat also suggested that students wanting to woo international clients might want to prepare bilingual business cards and bring along an interpreter if they weren't sure their counterparts spoke their language.
Sasae said he hoped his visit to Springfield would "deepen our bonds and relationships," and explained to reporters that so far, his trip to Missouri had gone well.
"On the whole, I think this state of Missouri is very much warm to the people coming from abroad," he said.