The Nagoya University professor and expert in the World Trade Organization, Hiramatsu Kenji, analyzed the results and perspectives of the European Union-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), during a business meeting at CEOE, with reason for the I Anniversary of the entry into force of the Agreement. The Vice President of CEOE, Salvador Navarro, participated in the day; the president of CEOE International, Marta Blanco; the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Japan in Spain, Hiramatsu Kenji; the general director of JETRO (Organization for Foreign Trade of Japan) in Madrid, Tatsuya Kato; and the Deputy General Director of Commercial Policy of the European Union at the Secretary of State for Commerce, Álvaro Rodríguez.

The vice president of CEOE, Salvador Navarro, presented the newly appointed Japanese ambassador to Spain (November 11, 2019), Hiramatsu Kenji, and reviewed his professional career and his extensive experience. In this regard, he explained that the Ambassador has always worked with the conviction that economic relations between countries constitute the foundation of their relations and said his goal will be to help Japanese companies to grow in the best possible conditions and to establish new ones Navarro emphasized the intense activity that has been carried out between both countries and, to cite some example, recalled the trip he made along with a Valencian delegation of political and business authorities to Tokyo in 2018. In this regard, he also mentioned the excellent relations that maintain the Imperial House of Japan and the Spanish Royal House.

In turn, the president of CEOE International, Marta Blanco, stressed during her speech that this is the first visit made by the Ambassador to CEOE since arriving in Spain. With regard to the Economic Partnership Agreement, he stressed that this represents a standard of multilateralism and free trade, and is of vital importance to boost investments between the two countries. In this regard, he highlighted the great interest of Spanish companies in the Japanese market and, as proof of this, is the meeting held in mid-September in CEOE with the EU Commissioner of Commerce, Cecilia Malström, to analyze the characteristics and advantages of the Agreement. Blanco also considered that Professor Takemasa's intervention will offer a new point of view on the subject in question, taking into account that Japan has agreements with both the EU and the United States, which can contribute to advancing multilateralism, progressing in solving the problems that the WTO currently has and strengthening the EU-Japan-United States partnership.

Business opportunities

The extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Japan in Spain, Hiramatsu Kenji, highlighted the great change that Spanish companies have made in various sectors such as infrastructure and renewable energy, and highlighted the great potential for collaboration that exists for both companies countries in many sectors, such as information technology, innovation, energy, agribusiness or services, among others. Kenji pointed out that the Economic Partnership Agreement is an essential tool to strengthen bilateral relations, since it represents access to a market of 600 million inhabitants, 20 billion euros and accounts for 30% of world GDP. Therefore, he said, it will contribute to the increase of competitiveness and economic growth of both, as well as to boost alliances with Japanese companies.

The professor at the University of Nagoya and an expert in the World Trade Organization and the Economic Partnership Agreement, Sekine Takemasa, for his part, made a comparison of the agreements that Japan has in force with both the United States and the EU. In this regard, he mentioned that both Japan, Canada and Korea have signed free trade agreements with the United States and the EU, therefore, he stressed, that this allows to maintain some stability in international trade, despite current tensions between The USA. and the EU. He also highlighted and emphasized some aspects of the Agreement (EPA), such as geographical indications, e-commerce and the arbitration court, to resolve conflicts that may arise in case of disputes. Finally, he mentioned the advantages that the Agreement has provided for both parties and its long-term perspectives, since “all the benefits offered by the EPA for the two regions have not yet been taken advantage of,” he said.

The general director of JETRO (Japan Foreign Trade Organization) in Madrid, Tatsuya Kato, stressed that the Economic Partnership Agreement offers new business opportunities, which go beyond tariff elimination. He also noted that the EPA has allowed intensifying Japanese investments in Spain in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or ICTs, among others. In fact, he indicated that in 2018 the total gross investment of Japan in our country reached a record figure, adding up to 900 million euros. He also spoke of the importance of investing in new areas, such as R & D & I; seek strategic alliances between companies in both countries; take advantage of existing qualified personnel; and promote the development of advanced technologies. Kato insisted that, thanks to the Agreement, new inter-company networks have been created and will serve to strengthen bonds of trust and long-term relationships between companies in both countries.

The Deputy Deputy Director General for Trade Policy of the European Union at the Secretary of State for Trade, Álvaro Rodríguez, stressed that "the EU Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan is a modern, comprehensive, deep and ambitious agreement." In fact, he explained that, since its entry into force, both bilateral trade relations and investments have increased, although there is still a lot of room. In this regard, he mentioned that the Agreement has also generated improvements in services, in the field of public procurement and in the promotion and ease of SMEs. Finally, he said that the EPA serves to boost cooperation opportunities for European and Japanese companies in third markets.

Source link