The EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström and the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, today analyzed in CEOE the EU-Japan Economic Association Agreement, which entered into force on February 1. The Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez; the president of CEOE International, Marta Blanco; the general director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Immaculate Riera, and the Japanese ambassador to Spain, Masashi Mizukami. They also participated in the various member tables of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism; of the European Commission; and representatives of important Spanish companies with interests in Japan.
During the meeting, organized within the framework of the collaboration agreement between the Secretary of State for Commerce, CEOE and the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, the speakers explained what the EU-Japan Economic Association Agreement consists of, what are the advantages of it the companies and, subsequently, two simultaneous tables were held to address trade in goods within the Agreement, as well as trade in services and public procurement.
EU-Japan Economic Association Agreement
The EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, insisted that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is an instrument that must be taken advantage of, and largely depends on the companies, therefore "the real work begins now" . The Commissioner stressed that the Agreement improves access to the European Union market, which represents 125 million consumers, and allows companies to compete on equal terms with those of other countries. Malmström also highlighted the commitment of both countries to multilateralism and free trade. The Agreement, according to the Commissioner, will eliminate the vast majority of tariffs, which saves around 1,000 million euros annually.
He also explained that tariffs on Japanese products will be reduced, some immediately and others within a certain period of time. In this regard, he also noted that other areas, such as public tenders, represent a great opportunity for Spanish companies, which are leaders in numerous sectors.
The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, stressed that the EU-Japan Economic Association Agreement is a fundamental instrument to defend multilateralism and free trade against trade tensions and protectionism in recent years. The Minister also stressed that, since the Agreement entered into force, trade has increased, taking into account that Japan is already the 12th investor in our country with 90,000 million euros last year.
In addition, he said, Spanish and Japanese companies have proven to be partners and not only competitors in various sectors, such as automotive, rail, energy or ports, among others. Maroto also assured that there is still ample room for improvement and companies are the protagonists. Finally, he mentioned that The Agreement represents a breakthrough in terms of values, taking into account that it supports SMEs or that addresses labor and environmental aspects.
Free Trade Defense
The president of CEOE International, Marta Blanco, praised the great effort carried out by all the institutions involved in achieving the Agreement, and most especially, the work done by the Commerce Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, and the intense negotiating activity she has carried out during her tenure. He also stressed that "almost never an act is held involving all the agents that have participated in the Agreement, as is the case."
He also had words of appreciation for the European Parliament, represented in this case by the Immaculate MEP Rodriguez-Piñero. Blanco, considered that all agents have made a great effort to transfer business interests in the negotiations of the Agreement and advocated its correct implementation, making use of available human resources and appropriate mechanisms.
In her words, the director general of the Chamber of Spain, Inmaculada Riera, congratulated the negotiating team for the closure of this agreement “which involves the reciprocal opening of both markets, offering multiple opportunities for trade and investment to European and Japanese entrepreneurs " Riera has been convinced that the text that entered into force on February 1 will consolidate the strategic nature of the EU-Japan alliance. "The relations between the two countries will receive a great boost and this partnership framework will allow us to address together challenges such as those currently raised by the resurgence of trade tensions and protectionism," he said.
The Japanese ambassador to Spain, Masashi Mizukami, praised the excellent relations that both countries maintain and pointed out that in 2018 the 150th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Spain was celebrated. He also considered that The Economic Partnership Agreement stands as the standard of free trade against growing protectionism worldwide. The Ambassador stressed that Japan and the EU represent a market of 600 million consumers and highlighted that the advantages of the Agreement have already been reflected, by increasing exports between the two countries. "Now is the time to take another step and bet on an increase in investments," he concluded.
“From the Secretary of State of Commerce we maintain a firm commitment to open trade along with the commitment because it is inclusive, that the benefits reach the entire society, and that it is also sustainable,” said Xiana Méndez. In this regard, he added that it is an agreement that represents a great opportunity to strengthen our economic and commercial relations with Japan.