Association, Inc.

Issue No. 2, 2011

JAMA Reiterates its Call for Strengthen EU-Japan Economic Integration

JAMA has been continuing to make the case for an Economic Integration Agreement between the EU and Japan, and is encouraged to see that this argument is being made by influential EU political and business figures, and national governments.

Indeed, the EU and Japan together represent 44% of world GDP and 23% of world trade.  Increased economic integration could boost trade flows between the two by an average of €48bn.  Japanese automakers are already an integral part of European industry, employing 136,000 people across the EU (either directly in operations or indirectly in sales and distribution), and investing €21.5 billion in the EU. Nearly two-thirds of Japanese-brand cars sold in the EU are locally produced.  Greater economic integration would allow this investment to continue, strengthening the competitiveness of the automotive industry in Europe and increasing employment.

In a recent opinion article published by the Brussels-based Parliament Magazine, Mr. Toshiyuki Shiga, chairman of JAMA, has saluted the efforts of the Japanese Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, to aggressively deal with non-tariff barriers to trade in Japan, as part of its “basic policy on comprehensive economic partnerships”.  As such, JAMA will support the Japanese government in its discussions with the EU towards the establishment of an EU-Japan EIA, which would clearly address tariffs and non-tariff measures.

The efforts of the Japanese government have been welcomed also by the chair of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, Mr. Vital Moreira MEP.  Mr. Moreira has raised the issue of wider regulatory in Japan and believes that both the EU and Japan would benefit from deepening their economic integration and that this would lead to higher trade and investment flows.

The European Business Council (EBC), representing European businesses in Japan, is also calling for an Economic Integration Agreement, recognizing that both EU exports to Japan and Japanese exports to the EU would be greatly boosted by such an agreement, benefitting all.  JAMA supports the EBC views that the European Commission should take a more active approach to achieving these goals.

Furthermore, JAMA hopes that the EU can increase its commitment to greater economic integration with Japan, and are enthused to see that at their meeting in Brussels on March 24-25 2011, the EU Heads of State and Government called for a strengthening of the relationship between the EU and Japan, including the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement.  We are delighted to see that the message of greater EU-Japan economic integration is being picked up at such high levels in Europe.  At the same time, JAMA is looking forward to the early conclusion of such an agreement.  JAMA believe it will enhance the bilateral relationship by enabling, among other objectives, expanded trade and investment between the European Union and Japan, as a consequence, spurring economic growth and employment creation in both the EU and Japan.