Courtesy Call on the Minister Maehara by Mr. Pierre Lellouche, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry of the French Republic (Outline)
March 3, 2011
On Thursday, March 3, Mr. Pierre Lellouche, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry of the French Republic, who is visiting Japan, paid a courtesy call on Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. An outline of the meeting is as follows.
- Initial remarks
Minister Maehara noted that Mr. Lellouche was a Japanophile who had visited Japan more than 30 times, and said he hoped to have Mr. Lellouche’s continued cooperation into the future to enhance Japan-France relations. In response, Mr. Lellouche passed on a message from President Nicolas Sarkozy that while France and Japan are facing the common challenges such as aging populations, response to rise of emerging nations, and global issues such as the situation in the Middle East, France, as an important partner for Japan, wishes to strengthen its close relationship with Japan, at the high-level.
- Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
(1) Since there are many people in Japan, himself included, who are fond of France and its products, Minister Maehara requested France’s cooperation and support towards the Japan-EU EPA, which is expected to contribute substantially to the advancement of Japan-France economic relations.
(2) In response, Mr. Lellouche recognized that the Japan-EU EPA would contribute to strengthening relations between Japan and France, and expressed its basic positive stance. At the same time, Mr. Lellouche insisted that the pace of improvement in access to the Japanese market is rather slow, and cited concrete examples of government procurement. He also indicated the importance of reciprocity between Japan and France, and expressed strong hope to see Japan show its willingness and visible gestures toward launching negotiations of the Japan-EU EPA.
(3) Minister Maehara referred to the introduction of the Airbus airplanes by Japanese airliners (In response, Mr. Lellouche said he was satisfied with this results), and the substantial popularity of French brands which have dominant positions in the Japanese market, and stated that we do not have the impression that the Japanese market is closed to the French products, while not suggesting that the Japanese system is impeccable. Minister Maehara also noted the importance of quickly reaching a conclusion through discussing the issue which both sides are concerned about in the course of EPA negotiations. Minister Maehara stated that as Mr. Lellouche is a key person within the French government with regard to the Japan-EU EPA, he hoped for his cooperation to make further progress.
- (*This is a provisional translation. The above date denotes the date of the issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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