Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2013

EU-Japan Business Round Table calls for an early and comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

The EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT), which comprises over 50 business leaders from Japan and Europe, held its 15th annual meeting in Paris on 29-30 April 2013.  With “Opening a New Chapter in EU-Japan Relations” as its theme, the meeting addressed inter alia issues pertaining to the negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement/Free Trade Agreement (EPA/FTA) between the EU and Japan as well as EU-Japan cooperation, including business with/in emerging economies.

The BRT agreed on a series of recommendations to be submitted to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  These include recommendations by the entire BRT to the leaders of the EU and Japan and, additionally, the recommendations of five working parties addressing the issues of, respectively, trade, investment and regulatory cooperation; life sciences, biotechnologies, healthcare and well-being; innovation, information and communication technologies; financial services, accounting and taxation; and energy, the environment and sustainable development.

The BRT recommends that the EPA/FTA negotiations should be completed, and the agreement ratified, as swiftly as possible, so as to stimulate economic growth, employment and investment in and between the EU and Japan.  Further, negotiations should be undertaken in a transparent manner so that businesses may take possible outcomes into account in their strategies.

Among the many matters discussed in the sectoral recommendations, the following points, which were raised by the Working Party on Trade Relations, Investment and Regulatory Cooperation, are of particular relevance to JAMA members’ activities:

As the only organisation of its kind composed of European and Japanese business leaders, the BRT can play a very useful role in supporting the EPA/FTA talks.  Businesses from both sides are confident that the EPA/FTA would mark the beginning of a new phase promoting closer partnership between the EU and Japan.

JAMA agrees that the EU-Japan EPA/FTA negotiations provide a crucial opportunity to further promote trade, investment and industrial cooperation between the two sides, and fully supports all efforts by the Japanese government and the EU to reach an early conclusion to the negotiations.

JAMA intends to do everything in its capacity to ensure that the Japan-EU dialogue at the industry level advances in parallel with the trade negotiations.  Meanwhile, JAMA members will continue working through the EU-Japan Business Round Table to contribute to discussions on the EPA/FTA and help promote the implementation of the above recommendations.