Brussels, 23 October 2014 – Yesterday, the Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE) hosted a high-level dinner in the presence of the Japanese and European Union (EU) chief negotiators working towards EU-Japan Free-Trade Agreement (FTA).

The dinner was held in the margins of the 7th round of FTA negotiations which continues in Brussels until Friday October 24th.

Participants heard from Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine, Chief negotiator for Japan (Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) and Mr. Mauro Petriccione, Chief negotiator for the EU (Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Trade, European Commission), who outlined the latest developments and projections for the FTA completion.

“We were pleased to see the negotiators share our vision to complete the FTA by 2015,” said Mr. Noriaki Hashimoto, JBCE President. “They echoed the words of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and newly appointed European Commissioner for Trade, Ms. Cecilia Malmström, who both intend to conclude the negotiations during the next year”.

The event offered senior representatives of European business associations a unique opportunity to exchange views on the FTA with high-level officials from several Japanese Ministries.

“It was our pleasure to receive the two negotiating parties for the second time in two years in Brussels”, said JBCE Secretary General Yukihiro Kawaguchi. “Dialogue between industries and governments further enhances the bilateral relationship. European and Japanese industry have high expectations for the EU-Japan FTA by 2015 as it is a huge opportunity for industrial growth and job creation. The JBCE is committed to acting as a bridge between the two regions”.

The JBCE urges European and Japanese leaders to pursue their efforts to conclude an ambitious FTA to strengthen bilateral relations between the EU and Japan and deliver significant economic benefits to both partners and third countries alike.

Contact: Yukihiro Kawaguchi, JBCE Secretary General: +32 2 286 53 30 –