16th BRT Annual Meeting – Tokyo, 08 & 09 April 2014:
"EU-JAPAN COOPERATION - NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR GLOBAL GROWTH"
The 16th EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT) meeting took place at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo on 08 & 09 April and was chaired by Mr. Hiromasa Yonekura, Chairman and CEO of Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., and Mr. Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of Airbus S.A.S.
The BRT Members (CEOs / senior executives from leading EU and Japanese firms) had the pleasure and honour of welcoming high-level representatives of the Japanese and EU Authorities. The meeting included updates on the negotiations for an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) / Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); the adoption of general and sectoral recommendations; discussions on the New Industrial Revolution in relations to sustainability and important business themes for the EU and Japan in the post FTA/EPA era; and discussions with the Japanese and EU Authorities.
The BRT Members agreed to submit their joint recommendations to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
On 9 April 2014, following the conclusion of the 16th annual BRT Meeting, the Co-Chairmen, Messrs Hiromasa Yonekura and Fabrice Brégier, led a delegation to hand-deliver the Recommendations to Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
|The handover was reported on the official website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet in both English and Japanese, together with a video recording.|
In his address, PM Abe said:
"I believe that meaningful discussions were conducted on strengthening the Japan-EU economic relationship during the BRT Annual Meeting. You have just given me the outcome of your discussions in the form of a 'joint declaration.' I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Co-Chairman Yonekura, Co-Chairman Bregier, and next Co-Chairman Tsukuda for your work in compiling this joint declaration.
The Abe administration attaches great importance to economic partnership agreements (EPAs). In particular, concluding the Japan-EU EPA is vital for the growth of Japan and the growth strategy of the Abe administration, and this is significant for the Japanese and EU economies.
While also drawing upon this joint declaration that I have just received, the Abe Cabinet will make every effort to conclude this EPA, ensuring that it is beneficial for both Japan and the EU, and that it contributes to the interests and growth of both sides. I would like to conclude my remarks by thanking everyone for their contributions to compiling this joint declaration. Thank you very much."
Handover photos © courtesy of Cabinet Secretariat, Cabinet Public Relations Office
The 22nd EU-Japan Summit was held in Brussels on 7 May 2014. Following their meeting, Messrs Herman Van Rompuy (President of the European Council) José Manuel Durão Barroso (President of the European Commission), and Mr Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan) issued a joint statement part of which commended the BRT for its work an input:
"We recognise the active and continued contribution of the EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT) to further development of bilateral economic relationship, and reaffirm our determination to promote cooperation with the business communities on both sides, notably through the BRT, in order to strengthen relations further with the intention of addressing a wide variety of global challenges. We welcome the recommendations adopted by the BRT in April that 'reiterate its calls that the EU and Japanese Authorities should step up their efforts to tackle and resolve the substance of the outstanding issues', which should include tariffs, non-tariff measures, procurement, investment, services, competition, intellectual property rights, geographical indications and regulatory cooperation, 'and that a comprehensive, ambitious, high-level and mutually beneficial FTA/EPA should be concluded as soon as possible'. We are also strongly encouraged by the BRT's commitment to make every effort to support the early realisation of an EU-Japan FTA/EPA."