Press release

EU AND JAPANESE LEADERS MAKE STRIDES AT TOKYO SUMMIT

Brussels, 29 May 2015 – The Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE) congratulates EU and Japanese leaders on their work to enrich the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership at the 23rd EU-Japan Summit held today in Tokyo.

“ In the Summit joint press release[1], Presidents of the European Council and Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated their trust that negotiators for the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) / Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would settle outstanding differences and reach an agreement on all key issues preferably by the end of 2015. “We have to have this FTA with Japan concluded as soon as possible,” said President Juncker at the press conference following the Summit. “Possibly by the end of this year if not in the first months of the year 2016.”
This is not the first time President Juncker and Prime Minister Abe and their colleagues have advocated for an early conclusion of the EPA/FTA.  During a Summit pre-meeting on 27 May 2015, Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to encourage their respective negotiation teams to accelerate the process and reach an agreement in principle in 2015.

“JBCE has consistently urged negotiators to follow through to meet this goal,” said JBCE President Noriaki Hashimoto. “We hope the Summit outcome will give a new push to the trade negotiations and accelerate the resolution of remaining difficulties, because business has no time to lose. In order to conclude the ambitious FTA within this year, high level political leadership and support is indispensable”.
A quick conclusion serves business on both sides. Reaching an agreement by the end of 2015 would allow industry to benefit from the EPA/FTA sooner and plan effectively for maximum growth. Studies by the European Commission and the European Union External Action Service show that the EU-Japan EPA/FTA would create jobs, stimulate foreign direct investment and boost GDP for both the EU and Japan[2].
Intensifying the EU-Japan trade relationship is expected to spill over to other areas. Already, the EU and Japan have concluded Agreements in energy, competition, legal assistance and customs cooperation. But there is room to go further. At the Summit, leaders pledged deeper political coordination on development and climate change and endorsed a Joint Vision to reinforce cooperation on research and innovation for instance via Horizon 2020 and the new ERC-JSPS cooperation agreement, notably on 5th generation mobile telecommunications networks and ICT, aeronautics, health, environment, energy and high-energy physics. Leaders also voiced their high expectations for further progress on bilateral regulatory cooperation in government and business.
“We support cooperation across the board”, added Mr. Hashimoto. “If the EU and Japan develop together new ideas, technologies and business models to address common challenges, industry will operate in a more predictable business environment. Incorporating these elements into the EPA/FTA should be of utmost priority”

About the Japan Business Council in Europe
Japan Business Council in Europe was established in 1999 as the representative organization of Japanese companies operating in the European Union. Our membership consists of almost 70 leading multinational corporations that are active across a wide range of sectors, including electronics, automotive, and chemical manufacturing.

The key goal of JBCE is to contribute to EU public policy in a positive and constructive way. In doing so, we can draw upon the expertise and experience of our member companies.

Website: http://www.jbce.org
E-mail: info@jbce.org

[1] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/05/29-joint-press-statement-eu-japan-summit/
[2] EEAS : http://www.eeas.europa.eu/factsheets/docs/150527_eu-japan_factsheet_en.pdf
European Commission : http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2012/july/tradoc_149809.pdf

EU-JapanSummit Press Release JBCE