Happy New Year to our members! I hope you have enjoyed your holidays wherever you were, and are looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of 2019. It goes without saying that this will be a significant year for Japan, being the last year of the Heisei era, which has been a symbol of peace and prosperity for people in Japan.
In October, we will see a rise in the consumption tax from 8 per cent to 10 per cent, which will affect the economy as a whole. This is also the year that Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup, which will generate both worldwide interest and business opportunities. And, possibly as early as February 1, the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will take effect. These are just some of the reasons that 2019 will prove to be a significant year for all of us in Japan, as also for those who have a relationship with this country.
When it comes to Canada, there will be no shortage of business opportunities in 2019. This year marks the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan. There will be many bilateral visits and exchanges to nurture the ever-growing partnership. Japan will host the G20 summit in Osaka, and Canada will have the opportunity to play a greatly expanded role in the international forum.
Perhaps most important, however, is the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which went into force on December 30, and we will see the first effects of the agreement this year. While Canadian and Japanese enterprises will have a historic opportunity to expand their domestic business and investment, we at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) will work with our partners in the Japanese and Canadian governments, trade organizations and other chambers of commerce to provide as much information and support as possible to businesses looking to expand and take full advantage of the agreement.
As it has done in this issue of The Canadian, the CCCJ will focus on providing relevant materials throughout the year to help members make the most of this opportunity. To this end, the CCCJ will host a series of events and invite relevant speakers to provide information on the CPTPP. We will try to provide as much detail for our members, updating them on current trends in CPTPP-related growth and sector analyses. Please stay tuned to our upcoming events and follow our magazine and e-newsletter closely for further information that may be of benefit to you.
With many exciting developments planned for our community, there is no better time to get involved!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of our Maple Leaf Gala last year. Once again, it was a great celebration, and we could not have done it without your support. Thank you.
In January, we will unveil our line-up of speakers for the year’s Global Diversity Management Speakers Series. With the continuing series but one of the many exciting developments planned for our community, there is no better time to get involved!
From all of us here at the chamber office, in the chamber committees and on behalf of the Board of Governors and all CCCJ volunteers, thank you for your continued support for the oldest Canadian chamber in Asia. We look forward to working with you during this dynamic year.