Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2013

JAMA welcomes green light to pursue EU-Japan free trade agreement

JAMA welcomes the decision on 29 November 2012 by the European Union’s 27 member countries to mandate the European Commission to open negotiations for a bilateral EU-Japan free trade agreement.  On that occasion, Chairman Akio Toyoda expressed appreciation to the officials concerned in both the Japanese and European governments for the extensive time and effort they devoted to bringing the process to this stage.

On behalf of the Commission, Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said that the EU Council of Ministers’ green light “was an important political decision—and necessary—if we want to foster growth and jobs in Europe,” adding “That’s exactly what our economies need.”  Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also warmly welcomed the decision, and its Foreign Affairs Ministry stressed that “the economic partnership agreement will benefit economic growth both for Japan and Europe.”

The Japanese automobile industry’s decades-long presence in Europe reflects its significant investment in the region over those many years.  Furthermore, Japanese automakers have developed multiple fruitful partnerships with European automobile manufacturers, which have helped strengthen the industry’s overall competitiveness.  JAMA members have 12 plants in seven countries in the EU and 12 R&D and design centres in five countries, and across the region over 164,000 people are employed through their activities there.  In 2011 their purchases of EU-made auto parts totalled €11.75 billion.

JAMA anticipates that the key impetus provided by a Japan-EU economic partnership agreement will enhance trade, investment and industrial cooperation between Japan and the EU.  It will no doubt also fuel growth in the automobile industries on both sides at a time when they are facing a number of common challenges, including economic uncertainty and the need to advance the development of next-generation environmentally-friendly vehicles.

JAMA has high expectations for the Japanese government’s continuing efforts aimed at an early conclusion of the Japan-EU negotiations on such an agreement.  The Japanese motor industry intends to support those efforts by doing everything in its capacity to advance the discussions in this regard at the industry level.