Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
It is most welcome that Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, signed today in Tokyo a Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which we at Keidanren have called for since more than ten years ago. I would like to extend my respect for the Government of Japan and those people concerned who have made a persistent effort to bring negotiations, in about five years since their inception, to the signature of such an ambitious and comprehensive agreement.
Building a free economic area between Japan and the EU, which, combined, account for about 30% of the world economy and approximately 40% of world trade, will stimulate additional growth and create jobs for both sides. It will also send a strong and positive message to the rest of the world, where there is a growing sentiment of anti-globalization and protectionism, that Japan and the EU are fully committed to promoting free trade. By providing a set of advanced rules, including on regulatory cooperation, the agreement will enhance trade and investment without jeopardizing the legitimate purpose of protecting the environment and ensuring safety, and contribute to the development of global rules relevant to third countries as well.
Moving forward, we do hope that the necessary procedures will be carried out without delay in both Japan and the EU, and that the EPA will be ratified and go into effect as soon as possible.
At the Summit, political leaders of Japan and the EU also endorsed to establish a High Level Industrial, Trade and Economic Dialogue. Building upon the EPA, both Japan and the EU should pursue strategic dialogue from a global viewpoint so that rules-based free and open international economic order can be maintained and reinforced.
Taking this opportunity, we welcome that Japan and the EU have successfully concluded discussions to recognise each other's personal data protection systems as equivalent, through which I expect cross-border personal data flow will be facilitated. I also hope that Japan and the EU will contribute to the development of a set of international rules on cross-border data flow which is essential to global business activities.