23 November 1995 UNICE-Keidanren Meeting
- On the occasion of their meeting on 23 November 1995 under the co-Chairmanship of Francois Perigot, President of UNICE, and Shoichiro Toyoda, President of Keidanren, European and Japanese business strongly reaffirm their commitment to work together constructively with a view to co-ordinating their approach to multilateral and bilateral issues of interest to business.
UNICE, the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe, and Keidanren, the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, have a long tradition of cooperation on issues of common interest, in particular on how best to improve EU-Japan economic and trade relations and to secure the proper functioning of the multilateral trade system.
- The two organizations have for long placed their emphasis on the need to secure competitiveness of business, which should become the priority for the public authorities in an increasingly interdependent world. They share the view that their respective socio-economic systems lack the flexibility to deal effectively with the fast changing global economy.
- In particular they share the same approach regarding the need for regulatory reform and simplification both in Europe and in Japan. Both have strongly expressed the views to their respective authorities that urgent action is needed on this front.
- Keidanren has repeatedly pressed the Japanese Government to deregulate sectors of the economy to let the market mechanism work. It reiterated its request in the 26 May 1995 Resolutions of its General Assembly whereby it urged immediate implementation of the Deregulation Action Plan to stimulate economic recovery.
- UNICE made a strong plea in October 1995 for a regulatory policy in Europe, considering that unduly complex regulations can reduce competitiveness and impose hidden costs on companies and on the economy in general. It stressed in particular that public attitudes towards government intervention in the affairs of business should change.
- UNICE and Keidanren stress the importance they attach to the first Euro-Asia meeting to take place in Bangkok in March 1996 as a significant step to strengthen the relationship between the two regions.
- The two delegations also share common views on the following specific items:
- 5.1 strengthening of WTO:
- UNICE and Keidanren firmly support the multilateral trade system based on the most favoured nation clause and the national treatment principle. They underline the need for the Uruguay Round results to be implemented in full.
They will continue to support efforts aimed at bringing to a satisfactory conclusion, in the agreed timeframe, the negotiations left open at the end of the Uruguay Round negotiations, particularly in the field of services. They also support the accession of new members ready to comply with the WTO rules and disciplines, and to make commitments in line with the level of their economic development.
Both organizations will increase their cooperation regarding preparation of the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Singapore in December 1996, which will define its future agenda.
- 5.2 bilateralism and regionalism:
- UNICE and Keidanren consider that open bilateral and regional arrangements are economically beneficial and generate trade and investment. They urge however that such arrangements be WTO-compatible, non-discriminatory against third-parties, either de jure or de facto, and do not weaken the multilateral trade system.
- 5.3 multilateral negotiations on foreign direct investment:
- UNICE and Keidanren reaffirm their support for multilateral rules on investment. They are closely following the negotiations under way at OECD level, and will make comments to their respective authorities as these develop. Both organizations simultaneously urge that consultations intensify in Geneva in view of pursuing an investment agreement in the WTO.
- 5.4 exchange programmes for young professionals:
- UNICE and Keidanren support the programmes which organize training periods for young graduates and young professionals from Europe in Japanese companies and from Japan in European companies. They will make proposals to their respective authorities with a view to intensifying the existing programmes, and to adapting them to the needs of SMEs.
- 5.5 industrial cooperation:
- UNICE and Keidanren support the strengthening of industrial cooperation in Japan and in the EU, but also in third-country markets, as a way of improving competitiveness on both sides. They particularly welcome the joint EU-Japan initiatives to that end, and the private initiatives such as Keidanren's "Japan International Development Organization" which aims to foster internationally co-ordinated private investment in developing and transition economies. They also strongly support the proposals now under discussion to strengthen the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation which brings the respective industries closer together.
- UNICE and Keidanren also urge the EU and Japan to increase cooperation regarding countries in transition. Such a cooperation would facilitate the economic transition process and the setting-up of conditions favourable to trade and investment, which are the primary sources of growth and employment.
- UNICE and Keidanren will take the necessary steps to ensure that their recommendations are well understood at government level and translated into action.
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