8th BRT Annual Meeting, Tokyo, 13 & 14 July 2006
The EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table (BDRT) held its annual meeting in Tokyo on 13 and 14 July 2006 under the co-chairmanship of Mr. Yotaro Kobayashi and Mr. Georges Jacobs in the presence of Mr. Toshihiro Nikai, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice-Minister and Mr. Kiyohiko Toyama, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Ms Noriko Furuya, Vice-Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC); and from the EU, Mr. Günter Verheugen, Vice-President, Member of the Commission for Enterprise & Industry.
The annual meeting took place after the bilateral EU-Japan Summit on 24 April 2006. At that meeting it was agreed that in the current new environment the EU and Japan, which are global partners, should intensify their close mutual cooperation on bilateral as well as multilateral levels. The EU-Japan Summit leaders shared the view that energy markets are becoming more integrated and that energy security has become an important element in policy-making. They also confirmed the importance of reaching agreement on opening markets for goods and services, as well as strengthening rules in the context of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). (See the "2006 EU-Japan Summit and the BRT" section below.)
The 2006 BRT annual meeting therefore focused all its attention and devoted a major part of its time to a profound, open and practical exchange of opinions between private and public sectors in the presence and with the full participation of the EU and Japanese Authorities. The following four points were the focus of discussion:
At the end of the meeting Yotaro Kobayashi stepped down as Chairman of the BRT’s Japan-side and was succeeded by Tadashi Okamura, Chairman of Toshiba.
The draft Dinner Speech entitled, "Boosting economic cooperation between Japan and the EU" given by Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Industry.
The 2007 Progress Reports from the European Commission and the Government of Japan, prepared in response to the BRT's 2006 Recommendations.
26/07/2006 - Yotaro Kobayashi and Tadashi Okamura (the out-going and in-coming Japan-side BRT Chairmen) hand delivered the BRT's 2006 set of Recommendations to Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan. Separately, Mr Kobayashi and Mr Jacobs submitted the Recommendations by post to Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland for the EU Council Presidency and to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
24/04/2006 - Paragraph 24 of the Joint Press Statement issued by the Summit Leaders mentioned the work of the BRT (emphasis added):
For strengthening Japan-EU relations
As responsible members of the international community, Japan and the EU stressed their intention to further invigorate their economies. In this context, summit leaders welcomed the strong performance of the Japanese economy as a result of the progress of structural reform.
Japan and the EU recognised the importance of further expanding market opportunities for business, including for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Japan and the EU will further enhance their dialogue and cooperation to promote trade and investment so that they reach their full potential, including by addressing the interests and remaining concerns of either side through the Japan-EU Regulatory Reform Dialogue. Summit leaders welcomed the fruitful discussions in this forum and noted the importance of conducting regular policy dialogue through the Japan-EU High Level Consultations.
Summit leaders welcomed the specific dialogues, such as those taking place in the framework of the EU-Japan High Level Meeting on Financial Issues that address issues of common interest and aim to find a satisfactory solution on equivalence between Japanese accounting standards and International Accounting Standards. Japan and the EU will promote open and competitive government procurement, which can bring important savings for public budgets.
Summit leaders welcomed the agreement in substance on the Customs Cooperation Agreement which will facilitate mutual assistance in customs matters and trade. They also welcomed the strengthened cooperation between the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the European Commission on competition matters.
They recognised the importance of the EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table and the activities of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.
(BRT EU-side Chairman)
(European Commission Vice-President)
(BRT Japan-side Chairman)
Additional photos from the 2006 BRT annual meeting can be found at the bottom of this page (click on each image to see an enlarged version).
12/04/2006 - The BRT co-Chairmen - Yotaro Kobayashi (Chief Corporate Advisor to Fuji Xerox) and George Jacobs (Chairman of the Board of UCB and former Chairman of the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe, UNICE), met Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry. They exchanged views on the EU-Japan business and trade relationship, and on how to further strengthen it. The EU was concerned about obstacles to EU investments in Japan and had asked several times for their removal. Since 2000, the EU had been the main foreign investor in Japan, averaging €5.5 billion in the years 2002-2004, while Japanese firms have invested €10 billion in the EU in 2004 alone.
A report from the meeting can be found in the European Commission Audiovisual Service archive.
(Left to right) Georges Jacobs, Günter Verheugen and Yotaro Kobayashi. © European Communities, 2006
|Short video showing highlights from the visit. Click on the image to play the recording. © European Communities, 2006|