January 13, 2022 Digital White Paper – Message from the EU Ambassador
Two years since the start of their implementation, the EU – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) are boosting our ability to deliver tangible benefits for businesses in Europe and in Japan.
Today the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing impact of climate change and environmental challenges make the EU – Japan cooperation more necessary than ever.
At the EU – Japan summit on 27 May 2021 our leaders launched the EU-Japan Green Alliance, which will boost coordinated efforts on both sides to accelerate climate and environmental action. Through this alliance, we will deepen our cooperation on the energy transition, environmental protection, regulatory and business cooperation, R&D, sustainable finance and facilitating the transition in third countries.
The EU and Japan also collaborate to promote global standards and comprehensive – including regulatory – approaches to digital policies and technologies. As the EU wants to make the next ten years our “digital decade”, we will work with Japan on emerging technologies, critical materials, 5G and 6G, artificial intelligence, data, and platforms. This will boost the competitiveness of both the EU and Japan and facilitate setting standards in multilateral fora.
In addition to these new areas of intensified cooperation, full implementation of the EPA will remain a joint priority. This year, on EPA’s 2nd anniversary, the EU and Japan agreed to important improvements to the agreement. The list of protected Geographical Indications (GIs) from EU countries and Japan now includes an additional 28 GIs for each side. Also, exporting vehicles to the other side has become easier, as we agreed to extend the list of safety requirements that will not require double approvals. This includes green technologies, such as hybrid and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. Japan has also recently authorised in its territory several EU oenological practices in accordance with the EPA, which will greatly facilitate further the EU wine exports to this important market.
In order for the EPA to be successful, we need to make sure that European companies are well aware of the EPA and know how to make use of it. I am happy to note that the use of EPA by European operators has increased considerably in the second year of implementation, but there is still room for improvement. We will continue our outreach efforts and provision of information and web tools to help our businesses to benefit from it, and hope to see even larger uptake of its utilisation in the years to come.
In this context, I am delighted to address the 2021 report of the European Business Council (EBC) on the Japanese business environment. This EBC report is a crucial tool to guide us in our implementation work, and to help us to follow the functioning of the EPA on the ground. Through this report, and its other activities, the EBC plays a key role in ensuring the EPA’s success.
As always, the EU Delegation to Japan continues to look forward to a close cooperation with the EBC and its members, to support our industry in accessing the Japanese market and to consolidate and expand the cooperation between the EU and Japan.
Ambassador of the European Union to Japan
Head of the Delegation