Association, Inc.

Issue No. 2, 2013

JAMA welcomes agreement to begin talks on a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

JAMA welcomes the agreement reached on 25 March by Japan and the European Union to open negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement/Free Trade Agreement (EPA/FTA) between the EU and Japan. The decision to proceed with official bilateral negotiations, which constitutes an important initial milestone towards the establishment of an EPA/FTA between two of the world’s largest economies, has also been welcomed by Japanese and European policymakers and business leaders.

In a joint statement released by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the three leaders affirmed that the final agreement should be deep and comprehensive and should address all issues of shared interest in order to stimulate economic growth in both the EU and Japan. They also expressed their commitment to its earliest possible conclusion.

According to Japan’s Ambassador to the EU, Kojiro Shiojiri, a bilateral agreement would contribute significantly to the development of the world economy. Recognising the substantial global contribution that the Japanese and European economies already make, Ambassador Shiojiri believes that a Japan-EU EPA/FTA can serve as a platform to forge additional new business opportunities worldwide.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Japanese automobile industry, JAMA Chairman Akio Toyoda expressed his appreciation of the work carried out by the Japanese and European governments to reach this stage. In JAMA’s view, the creation of a Japan-EU EPA/FTA represents a crucial opportunity to further promote trade, investment, and industrial cooperation between the two sides and, Toyoda added, will lead to the growth of the automobile industry in both Japan and Europe.

In anticipation of the mutual benefits to be derived from this closer economic relationship, JAMA fully supports the efforts of the Japanese government to reach an early conclusion to the negotiations, Chairman Toyoda said, reiterating JAMA’s intention to do everything in its capacity to ensure that the Japan-EU dialogue at the industry level advances in parallel with government initiatives.

Based on the outcome of a joint scoping exercise completed in May 2012, the first round of negotiations on an EPA/FTA between the EU and Japan was held in Brussels from 15 to 19 April, with both sides demonstrating their willingness to commit to an ambitious trade liberalisation agenda.