A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

HE Mr Keiichi Katakami is Ambassador of the Mission of Japan to the European Union since September 2014.

HE Mr Keiichi Katakami is Ambassador of the Mission of Japan to the European Union since September 2014.

The twelfth round of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) /Free Trade Agreement (FTA) (EPA/FTA:hereafter referred to as EPA) was held in Tokyo from the 14th to the 18th of September, 2015. Just as with every negotiation we have been through up to this point, officials from Japan and the EU have worked closely together, aiming to finalize an agreement that both Japan and the EU can benefit from.

Looking back, it was not very long ago when the first round of the EPA negotiations was held in Brussels. This was only back in April 2013, and within this short space of time, Japan and the EU have already sat across the table 12 times and we have been successful in narrowing down the gap between us.

Despite some differences which we have identified, the desire from each side to reach the conclusion has become progressively stronger through every round of negotiations. The 23rd Japan-EU Summit in May 2015 was, in my opinion, one of the key moments that lifted our negotiations to the next level. Japan and the EU shared a common vision for the EPA and attached importance to both speed and quality, and agreed to further accelerate the negotiations, aiming to reach an agreement in principle by the end of 2015.

It is clear, Japan and the EU are important global partners which share fundamental values such as democracy, rule of law, and basic human rights, but it is realized that there is still vast untapped potential between two entities. In the area of trade and investment, the EPA is seen as the most effective tool for realizing the potential of the Japan and the EU economies. It is expected that the Japan-EU EPA will promote trade and investment on both sides through the elimination of tariffs and improving trade and investment rules. It will contribute to a boost in economic growth, create employment and strengthen business competitiveness both in Japan and the EU.

At the most basic level, the Japan-EU EPA seeks to invigorate the economies of Japan and the Europe and provide growth and jobs. It will bring significant economic benefit to Japan and the EU, to industry and society, as well as to businesses and consumers. The EPA will not only further strengthen Japan-EU trade and investment, but it will also be a tool to deepen the relations between Japan and the EU and assist the two economies in addressing global issues.

On global scale, the Japan-EU EPA is expected to have wide ranging positive effects. The EU is a large market with a population of over 500 million and accounting for approximately 24% of the world GDP. The EU is one of Japan’s major trading and investment partners, contributing to approximately 10% of Japan’s total trade volumes. Japan and the EU’s joint contribution to global output is currently around 30%. An economic partnership agreement of this scale between the two of the world’s most advanced market economies will have positive contributions to stable growth in the world economy, global rule and standards setting in trade and investment. The EPA will also allow Japan and the EU to jointly play an even more positive role in international rule making for areas, such as safety regulations on products, business norms and protection of investment or intellectual property rights and other related economic activities, while also serving as a platform to create new business opportunities world-wide.

The EPA is not a simple free trade agreement, and we should not let it be just an ordinary agreement. There is nothing wrong about being ambitious, and in fact, we should be as ambitious as we can for the benefit of both Japan and the EU. The EPA must be an agreement which goes further, allowing us to build strong economies with advantages such as competitiveness, innovation and sustainability. The Japan-EU EPA is a testament to the principal of pursuing free, open, and interconnected economies. It should be deep and comprehensive in order to embed economic growth both in Japan and the EU.

We, Japan and the EU, are now tested to see if we can push the negotiations forward with a focus on speed and substance. We want the EPA to be substantial, to have real impact, and to be relevant decades after the agreement comes into force. Back in 2013, Japan and the EU might have sat far apart from each other when we first took our seats at the negotiation table. Now I don’t see any table between us, but together, we are rolling up our sleeves, putting in our utmost energy and efforts, and gearing up to make the final adjustments to the agreement.

I am convinced that through every round of negotiations we have completed, we are not failing this test and the time is right for both Japan and the EU to conclude this series of negotiations and step into a new phase of cooperation.

Before closing, I would like to give a clear answer to the question often asked about the relationship between the Japan-EU EPA and TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement).  Japan’s basic position is as follows; Japan is negotiating the TPP to make an agreement at the highest possible level.  Equally, with the EU, Japan will also pursue an EPA at the highest possible level.

About the writer

Katakami Keichi_Ambassador of Japan to EUBorn March 6, 1954, graduated from the Faculty of Tokyo University of Law, he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980. After occupied some key positions, he served as advisor to Chief Cabinet Secretary, Minister at the Embassy of Japan to the United States, Deputy Director-General of European Affairs Bureau, Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, 2008-2011, Ambassador in charge of Economic Diplomacy, 2011-2012, and Director General for Economic Affairs Bureau, 2012-2014.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Commissioner sings “Volar-e” but the European driver no “Cantar-e”

Parliament votes reform for better European Co2 market but critics want it sooner than later

The Commission unsuccessfully pretends to want curbing of tax evasion

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Climate change will never be combatted by EU alone while some G20 countries keep procrastinating

The ECB again takes care of the bankers not the people

Summer pause gives time to rethink Eurozone’s problems

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

‘Free state aid’ for imprudent banks

Draghi’s ‘quasi’ announcement of a new era of more and cheaper money

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Apparently the EU Digital Single Market passes necessarily from China’s Digital Silk Road

Commission and ECB prepare new financial mega-tool in support of SMEs

Diana in Vietnam

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

Greek citizens to pay the price again but Tsipras risks losing next elections

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

It is me

Will Europe be able to deal with the migration crisis alone if Turkey quits the pact?

EU-India summit: Will the EU manage to sign a free trade agreement with India before Britain?

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

EU prepares a banking union amidst financial ruins

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

EU agricultural production no more a self-sufficiency anchor

It ain’t over until Google says it’s over

The MH17 tragedy to put a tombstone on Ukrainian civil war

Impacting society with digital ingenuity – World Summit Award proclaiming the top 8 worldwide

Greece at the mercy of ECB while sailing through uncharted waters

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Menu for change: why we have to go towards a Common Food Policy

Poverty and social exclusion skyrocket with austerity

London to say hello or goodbye to Brussels this week

My unlimited China

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

EU out to conquer African Union summit

European Commission: Does Apple, Starbucks and Fiat really pay their taxes?

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Lithuania needs to get rid of the victim mentality

EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels

The Sting’s Values

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What lessons to draw from the destruction of Syria

Bugged Europe accepts US demands and blocks Morales plane

MWC 2016 Live: Industrial world prepares to reap digital benefits

Bayer-Monsanto merger: the story of the rise of the “endless company”

Athens searches frantically for a new compromise between politics and economic reality

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

MWC 2016: IoT experts fret over fragmentation

IMF to teach Germany a Greek lesson

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

European Youth Forum welcomes adoption of Sustainable Development Goals and calls on European countries to not ignore them!

How to test if Kiev’s ‘Maidan’ was an authentic revolt or a well-planned operation

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s