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

Where is heading Putin’s Russia?

Let your fingers do the walking

While EU Open Days 2013 discuss the 2020 strategy, Microsoft shares a glimpse of EU 2060

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

GradList Launched At TheNextWeb 2014

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

China’s 13th Five Year Plan and the opportunities for Europe

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

Unemployment and stagnation can tear Eurozone apart if austere policies persist

World Summit Awards 2016: Sustainable impact through digital innovation

European Youth Forum demands immediate action & binding agreement on climate change

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

Gloomy new statistics signify no end to Eurozone’s economic misery

Greece bailout programme: Full agreement after marathon negotiations on debt relief between IMF and Eurozone

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Greece: Tsipras’ referendum victory does not solve the financial stalemate of the country and its banks

An expert in the South China Sea issue on an exclusive interview at the European Sting

Brexit Update: EU endorses unprecedented compromise to help Cameron out of the referendum mess he got himself into

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

European Union: More taxes out of less income

ECB’s trillion has to be printed and distributed fast before Armageddon comes

Eurozone: Statistics don’t tell the whole story

Why capital markets have no more reservetions about Eurozone

MWC 2016 LIVE: Orange targets VoLTE and Voice over Wi-Fi; strikes Google partnership

“We are in Europe, but not of it”, from Churchill to Cameron: British Exceptionalism now threatens the entire EU Edifice

Draghi’s top new year resolution: Quantitative Easing

G20 LIVE: “ISIL is the face of evil; our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation”, US President Barack Obama cries out from Antalya Turkey

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

Entrepreneurial leadership: what does it take to become a leader?

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

Tackling Youth Unemployment

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

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

The ECB tells Berlin that a Germanic Eurozone is unacceptable and doesn’t work

Alexis Tsipras ready to test Eurozone’s political sturdiness; Up to what point?

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Last-chance Commission: Why Juncker promised investments of €300 billion?

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

Alexandre in Czech Republic

“Two Pack” approved: Is democracy chased away from Brussels?

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

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

Latest leaked TTIP document confirms EU sovereignty may be under threat

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Has the EU economy truly revived from the financial crisis?

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 )

w

Connecting to %s