Japan-EU Relations

January 20, 2015
 On January 19, from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. (local time), Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was on his visit to Brussels, held a meeting with Ms. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade. The overview is as follows. This was Minister Kishida’s first meeting with Commissioner Malmström, who was appointed on November 1 last year.

1. Beginning

 Commissioner Malmström said she was grateful to be able to meet Minister Kishida immediately following her appointment.
 In response, Minister Kishida congratulated Commissioner Malmström on her appointment, and explained that Japan and the European Union (EU) are partners that have promoted multifaceted free trade over a period of many years, and are also two major advanced market economies that together account for approximately 36% of the world’s total trade and have a responsibility to further develop the global economy. Minister Kishida said that in addition to the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), for which agreement in principle is being aimed during this year, he also hopes to exchange frank views on the course of the global economy and the current state of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

2. Japan-EU EPA

 Minister Kishida said the Japan-EU EPA is a driving force for advancing the development of both economies, and he hopes not only that both Japan and the EU will reap the fruits of growth, but also that they will together play a leading role in creating new rules for trade and investment in the global economy.
 Commissioner Malmström replied that the Japan-EU EPA is an important agreement for both sides, and although it presents many challenges, she by all means wants to achieve it.
 Minister Kishida and Commissioner Malmström shared the view that the goal of reaching agreement in principle during this year that was confirmed at the Japan-EU Summit Meeting in November last year is an ambitious but achievable goal, and confirmed they will further accelerate the negotiations toward achieving a comprehensive and high-level EPA.

3. WTO

 Minister Kishida said the multilateral trading system centering on the WTO is the foundation of global trade, and welcomed that the protocol on the Trade Facilitation Agreement was adopted in November last year and that the WTO’s work was back on track.
 In response, Commissioner Malmström said prompt progress in the Doha Round is a pressing issue, and it will also have an impact on the credibility of the multilateral trading system.
 Minister Kishida and Commissioner Malmström shared the view that they will continue to cooperate for the upcoming the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in December this year and the prompt conclusion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) expansion negotiations.

4. Other

 Minister Kishida requested the EU to ease and lift restrictions on food imports from Japan, on a scientific basis, which have been maintained since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Minister Kishida also asked for cooperation on bringing in Japanese food products to the Milan EXPO taking place this year.

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