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

Featured Stings

1.1 billion people still lack electricity. This could be the solution

A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

Eurozone set to abandon monetary and incomes austerity and adopt growth friendly policies

Parliament approves key directive regulating professional qualifications

Eurozone: Sovereign debt decreases for the first time since 2007

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

The role of public affairs in student NGOs

World Health Organisation and young doctors: is there any place for improvement?

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement sees the light as Moscow’s reaction once more looms

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

We know ethics should inform AI. But which ethics?


Re-thinking citizenship education: bringing young people back to the ballot box

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

The EU bows to Turkey in view of the talks for a political settlement in Syria

Gender disparity in salary and promotion in medicine: still a long way to go

Why is Grexit again in the news? Who is to pay for Eurozone’s banking problems?

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

Internet of Things: a Force for Good or Evil?

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

UN rights office appeals for peaceful Zimbabwe elections amid reports of intimidation

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Shinzō Abe, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker at EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo last week. (Copyright: European Union, 2018 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte)

EU and Japan ratify first FTA ever to include Paris Climate Agreement provision

Women’s leadership ‘critical’ to future of Niger

Worldwide terror attacks have fallen for the third year in a row

The Council unblocks all EU budgets

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

EU finally agreed to cut roaming charges in 2017 but criticism is always there

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Why the World Cup is a bit like international trade

EU and Indian flags at EU-India Summit in New Delhi last October (copyright EU 2018, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service)

India and the EU get close to revive talks on proposed Free Trade Agreement

Trump’s trade war splits the EU; Germany upset with Juncker’s “we can be stupid too”

How a possible EU budget deficit affects the migration crisis

Berlin favours economic and social disintegration in certain Eurozone countries

Vegans in France are using extreme tactics to stop people eating meat

Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): a stimulating China-EU dialogue at European Business Summit 2018

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

Syria: Civilians bear brunt of unilateral sanctions, exacerbating ‘unparalleled suffering, destruction,’ says UN expert

The widely advertised hazards of the EU not that ominous; the sting is financial woes

ECB to people: Not responsible if you lose money on Bitcoin, your governments are

The decline of our oceans is accelerating, but it’s not too late to stop it

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

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

EU confronts environmental threats as global leaders attempt to revive the global sentiment at NYC climate week

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

€5 billion of EU energy efficiency project money spent on “comfort”

EU/Africa, Caribbean and Pacific: towards which partnership?

Will Cameron succeed in keeping UK inside the EU and reverse the present economic downturn?

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s