Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura has written to European political and business leaders about promoting an EU-Japan EPA/FTA.
Letters have been sent to the following political leaders: European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Letters have been also sent to President Emma Macegaglia of BUSINESSEUROPE, President Michael Rake of CBI (Confederation of British Industry), President Ulrich Grillo of BDI (Federation of German Industries), President Pierre Gattaz of MEDEF (French Business Confederation), President Giorgio Squinzi of Confindustria (Confederation of Italian Industries), President Juan Rosell of CEOE (Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain), and President Henryka Bochniarz of Lewiatan (Polish Confederation Lewiatan).
Negotiations for an EU-Japan EPA/FTA were officially launched in April last year. For the past year, KEIDANREN has provided lateral support to governmental negotiations by strengthening dialogue with our European counterparts.
On 4 March this year, KEIDANREN, in cooperation with BUSINESSEUROPE, hosted the third sector-to-sector meeting in Brussels. The dialogue has been deepening with each successive meeting. On 4 March, each industrial sector reported on such issues as the progress they have made with respect to non-tariff measures as an example of the achievements accomplished in their dialogue (see Attachment 1 for a summary of recent progress), and each sector confirmed that they would join forces to tackle the remaining issues to be solved. Even those sectors which still have gaps to fill recognized the necessity of continuing dialogue to improve the situation. After the meeting, KEIDANREN and BUSINESSEUROPE issued a news release calling for regulatory coherence and cooperation among the advanced economies and rules that are globally relevant (see Attachment 2).
What had been discussed at the sector-to-sector meeting was reported to the Annual Meeting of the EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT) held in Tokyo on 8-9 April. In his letters to European leaders, Chairman Yonekura reported that "BRT participants echoed that negotiations should continue and a comprehensive and ambitious EU-Japan EPA/FTA should be completed as soon as possible." He met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to deliver the set of Recommendations adopted at the BRT Annual Meeting. In his letters, Chairman Yonekura said that Prime Minister Abe "noted that his cabinet would exert all its power to conclude an EPA/FTA that would be mutually beneficial and conducive to growth." Chairman Yonekura continued, "I am in firm belief that this strong political commitment will deliver the expected results."
Chairman Yonekura vowed in his letters that "we at KEIDANREN will continue to encourage various industrial associations to further deepen dialogue with their European counterparts." With the upcoming EU review of negotiations with Japan, he called upon the European leaders to exert "strong leadership for negotiations to be continued and concluded as soon as possible."