Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2011

JAMA welcomes the early progress towards an EU-Japan Economic Integration Agreement

As a longstanding supporter of free trade, JAMA warmly welcomes the outcome of the 20th EU-Japan Summit held in Brussels on 28 May, in which Summit leaders agreed to start the process for negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement covering tariffs, non-tariff measures, services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition and public procurement. Summit leaders also decided that the EU and Japan would start a ‘scoping exercise’—in other words, discussions targeting a definition of the scope and level of ambition of the negotiations.

Commenting on that outcome, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: "I'm convinced this will lead to a far-reaching economic partnership agreement." Echoing the Prime Minister’s optimism, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy described the talks as being of high political significance and was quoted as saying “[With these commitments] we have set the course towards a free trade agreement between the [European] Union and Japan.” The two leaders furthermore emphasised the significance for the global economy of a future agreement, with Van Rompuy adding that “The potential economic and political results are huge, in terms of jobs, growth and a shared destiny.”

Although no precise timeline has been announced, the scoping exercise, already underway, is expected to take several months to complete. JAMA has high expectations for its successful conclusion, leading to the launch of negotiations for the EU-Japan Economic Integration Agreement (EIA).

To help ensure that the scoping initiative proceeds with optimum speed and efficiency, JAMA looks forward to remaining in close communications with the EU auto industry, as well as working with the EU and Japanese authorities to demonstrate the benefits of pursuing greater economic cooperation between the EU and Japan.