Overview of the Japan-EU High-level Consultations

January 24, 2006

The Japan-EU High-level Consultations were held on 24 January in Tokyo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, co-chaired by Mr. Mitoji Yabunaka, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Japanese side, and Mr. Eneko Landaburu, Director-General, External Relations Directorate General, the European Commission, on the EU side. The Japan-EU High-level Consultations are economic consultations at the vice-ministerial level between Japan and the EU that have been held since 1973, in which extensive policy dialogue on matters of mutual interest has been conducted from a broad standpoint.

At the Consultations, it was confirmed that Japan and the EU were partners in dealing with common international issues based on the basic values of human rights, democracy and market economy. Exchange of views took place on the progress of cooperation and dialogue in the following wide-ranging areas.

1. Japan-EU Economic Relations

(1) Views were exchanged on the current economic situations in Japan and the EU. The Japanese side explained the outline of the various reform efforts undertaken by the Government of Japan, and noted that the Japanese economy is showing an upward trend as a result. The EU side explained the current situation of its economy, and the Lisbon Strategy in particular.

(2) Both sides recognized that the Japan-EU economic relations important for both parties were in good shape. It was also confirmed that there is room for further development of the trade and investment relations between Japan and the EU, and that both parties would continue their exchange of views through various frameworks including the Japan-EU Regulatory Reform Dialogue.

(3) With regard to specific issues, the EU side touched upon such topics as Article 821 of the Corporate Code, triangular mergers, government procurement, and beef exports, which have been taken up at other fora such as the Japan-EU Regulatory Reform Dialogue.

2. WTO and FTA/EPA

With regard to the WTO, it was confirmed that both sides would continue their cooperation in order to further accelerate the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations based on the achievements at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong. On FTA/EPA, the Japanese side explained the progress of its EPA negotiations in East Asia, as well as the development of closer economic relations in East Asia. The EU side noted that its negotiations with regional frameworks which began prior to the DDA were continuing.

3. Tackling Global Issues

(1) On avian influenza, both sides exchanged views on the international conferences held in Tokyo and Beijing. They will continue to exchange views and cooperate on this matter.

(2) As for the protection of intellectual property rights, the Japanese side gave an explanation on the Proposed Treaty on Non-proliferation of Counterfeits and Pirated Goods proposed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the G8 Glenneagles Summit in 2005. It was confirmed that dialogue at various levels will be promoted in order to deepen cooperation with the EU.

(3) Environment and energy are areas of great interest to both sides. Both Japan and the EU confirmed that they would advance their dialogue on possible cooperation regarding the post-Kyoto Protocol framework. Both parties, recognizing the importance of energy efficiency and energy security, also confirmed that they will deepen dialogue on these issues.

(4) The Japanese side explained its view on economic assistance, and it was confirmed that dialogue in this area will also be promoted.

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