Industry and Commerce Minister Dr. Hassan Fakhro stressed the Government\'s keen interest to enhance and develop Bahrain’s economic relations with different countries of the world and launch promotional programs that ensure attracting regional and global investments to the country. This came during a meeting on Thursday the 22nd of November 2012 with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) business delegation representing major Japanese companies with the Director of the Dubai office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Yasuaki Uchino. Japanese Ambassador Shigeki Sumi and Second Secretary Hiroyuki Mitsui attended the session. Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) treasurer and acting Chief Executive Officer Othman Sherif, Bahrain-Japan Business and Friendship Society “BJBFS” Vice Chairman Nasser Al Arayedh, BJBFS member Ms. Nancy Khedoury and Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade Eman Al-Doseri were also present. The minister welcomed the delegation confirming the importance of industrial and economic relations, pointing out that the volume of trade exchanges in 2011 topped $3.7 billion (non-oil trade: $ 610 million) with oil Exports to Japan in 2011 of US$ 3.1 billion, non-oil exports to Japan (including re- exports) in 2011 were US$ 22.6 million and Bahrain imports from Japan in 2011 were valued at US$ 587 million. Dr. Fakhro noted the positive results and bilateral relation developments during the visit of His Majesty the King to the Japan last April, which formed a new turning point in bilateral relations that reflected positively on these relations. The Minister also mentioned the visits recently done by businessmen delegations to Bahrain of which the visit of Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East “JCCME” delegation and Business Seminar on “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Improvement” that was held in Bahrain on 10 October, 2012, the visit of Mr. Toshio Motoya of APA Group during the period 23-27 October 2012, in addition to BJBFS’s organisaiton of the Seminar for Professor Emeritus Dr. Saburo Matsui on “Modernisation and Industrial Development of Japan” on the 4th of November 2012. In this context, the Minister highlighted the importance of the Japanese investments and business activities in Bahrain and their value-added contribution to the economy in in several strategic and economic fields; including energy, financial services, manufacturing SME’s and trade. Dr. Fakhro affirmed that Japanese Investors can benefit from the open investment environment in Bahrain, use Bahrain as a regional center for Japanese companies, benefit from Bahrain-US Free Trade Agreement, encouraging the setting up of branches of the specialized Japanese factories as well as small and medium industries SME’s in Bahrain and benefitting from the incentives and opportunities available in Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP). Dr. Fakhro reviewed the considerable efforts undertaken by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in order to translate leadership and Government’s directives to promote investment opportunities offered by Bahrain for investors whether form within or outside Bahrain especially with great facilities and welcoming investment climate to work and live in Bahrain, as Bahrain has become the first destination for many of these investment and holds several high-level large-scale industrial, trade and service projects. From their part, the Japanese delegation said that they are pleased to visit Bahrain, expressing their admiration for the advanced steps pursued by the Kingdom of Bahrain in advancement of the economic sector and attraction of large capital investment through unique industrial and financial projects that reinforces Bahrain’s leading financial and economic position.