[ Keidanren ] [ Policy ]

Urgent Call for an EU-Japan Economic Integration Agreement

October 31, 2011

To follow up on the first proposal for an Economic Integration Agreement (EIA) with the EU in 2007, we at Keidanren consolidated another two proposalsi. In addition, in April last year jointly with the European Business Council in Japan (EBC), and in May this year with DIGITALEUROPE, EUROCHAMBRES and EUROCOMMERCE as well as the EBC, Keidanren called upon EU and Japanese leaders to launch negotiations for an EU-Japan EIA.ii

This July our Chairman led the Keidanren delegation to major EU member countries. Throughout the visit it was echoed by European leaders of both governments and businesses that Japan should show its commitment to dismantling non-tariff measures through concrete action in order to launch negotiations for an EIA. In response to these echoes, the delegation suggested that business dialogue on a sectoral basis could be effective in resolving issues.iii

On the occasion that the G20 Summit is held in Cannes on 3-4 November, there is a possibility that leaders of the EU and Japan will meet to take stock of the progress of the scoping exercise (discussions with a view to defining the scope and level of ambition of negotiations) whose start was agreed upon at the 20th EU-Japan Summit this May.

Against this background we at Keidanren would like to take this opportunity to renew our commitment to promoting industry sector-to-sector dialogue and to highlighting horizontal issues across sectors to be addressed in the negotiations for an EIA with a view to constructing win-win relations between the EU and Japan. We strongly hope that the scoping exercise will be completed successfully taking into account the positive developments in the industrial community and thus negotiations for an EIA will be launched without a moment's delay.

1. Industry sector-to-sector dialogue to be further promoted

Pursuant to our Chairman's observations on his visit to Europe, we at Keidanren have encouraged major industrial circles to promote dialogue with their European counterparts. In this regard, it should be noted that industrial dialogue has already been conducted between the EU and Japan on various platforms, and delivered the result of resolving common challenges. As part of the efforts to prevent new problems from emerging and to create a more seamless business environment between the EU and Japan, some industrial associations are also exploiting existing frameworks or channels to conduct dialogue with their European counterparts; for instance, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA), Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), Japan Iron and Steel Federation, Japan Chemical Industry Association (JCIA), Japan Textile Federation, Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA), and Japan Industries Association of Radiological Systems (JIRA).

Keidanren welcomes these developments and will continue to make every possible effort, such as promoting industrial dialogue on a sectoral basis, to resolve in a mutually beneficial manner all issues including non-tariff measures which stand in the way of even better relationships between the EU and Japan.

2. Challenges to be tackled in negotiations for a possible agreement

We at Keidanren have advocated that the possible agreement to be concluded with the EU should be designed to realize a transparent, open and stable business environment by comprehensively covering economic activities, and to promote cooperation between the EU and Japan and thereby contribute to stronger economic relations with third countries. In order to successfully complete the scoping exercise and thus start negotiations for an agreement at the earliest date, both sides are required to commit themselves to securing coherence and promoting harmonization of behind-border-measures such as regulations and standards between the EU and Japan. Considering our position mentioned above and the current status of the process for negotiations, we at Keidanren renew our call upon both the EU and Japan to vigorously tackle the following challenges across industrial sectors.

  1. Improving transparency and business certainty such as through notification and consultation when changing tariff classifications and duty suspension measures, and carrying out trade remedy investigations
  2. Driving regulatory coherence such as through notification, consultation and early solicitation of comments when introducing or revising domestic regulations, and continuous consultation on better regulations
  3. Promoting harmonization and mutual recognition of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures where possible; and at least mandating prior notification of information on their introduction and revision at a sufficiently early stage
  4. Establishing a framework for cooperation in the development of new technologies and thus prompting the development of new international standards
  5. Enhancing cooperation among patent offices and promoting global patent harmonization
  6. Fighting against counterfeit and pirated products
  7. Facilitating the movement of businesspersons such as intra-corporate transferees
  8. Improving access to government procurement markets
  9. Promoting cooperation to ensure fair access to raw materials including rare earths and metals
  10. Promoting cooperation with regard to third country markets

  1. "Call for the Start of Joint Study for a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement" (12 June 2007)
    "Toward Japan-EU Economic Integration
    -- Second Proposal for Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement" (14 April 2009)
    "Call for the Start of Negotiations on Japan-EU Economic Integration Agreement
    —Third Proposal for Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement" (17 November 2009)
  2. "Japan-EU Summit: Time for an EIA" (20 April 2010)
    "Time for an EU-Japan EIA" (13 May 2011)
  3. "Chairman's Observations on Keidanren Mission to Europe" (8 July 2011)

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