Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2009

Free Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement concluded between Japan and Switzerland

JAMA views as most welcome the conclusion, following two years of negotiations, of the Free Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and Switzerland.  Signed on 19 February 2009 in Tokyo, this comprehensive agreement represents a significant milestone in the relations between the two countries, establishing a new, solid basis for closer ties between them.   Japan and Switzerland in fact affirmed their "desire to enhance Japan-Swiss cooperation in international fora, as well as in their economic relations with third countries, in responding to such challenges as protectionist reaction vis-à-vis worldwide financial difficulties or recession, risks of shortages of food and raw materials, or trade-related aspects of climate change".

The two governments underscored their determination "to resist protectionist pressures" and expressed their intention "to join plurilateral and multilateral efforts for a robust alliance against protectionist measures in the world".

The agreement will enter into force on 1st September this year.  It provides for, inter alia, improved mutual market access for goods and services, enhanced conditions for investment activities, effective protection of intellectual property rights, the promotion of electronic commerce, cooperation in the field of competition policy, and improved framework conditions as well as increased legal security for economic relations between Japan and Switzerland.

Switzerland is the first country in Europe to have concluded such an agreement with Japan.  In a joint statement last February, Mr Hirofumi Nakasone, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ms Doris Leuthard, Vice-president of the Swiss Federal Council and head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, declared that "the agreement will foster existing and new business opportunities for the private sectors of the two countries".

JAMA sees the agreement as providing an excellent impetus for enhancing relations between Europe and Japan.  For their part, JAMA member companies are committed to developing stronger ties with European partners to improve their mutual competitiveness and thus to better respond to global challenges.