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EU – Japan cooperation

EU – Japan cooperation

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs has been working with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on an industrial and regulatory dialogue that seeks to further develop regulatory convergence and overcome hurdles. The cooperation allows for better mutual understanding of respective policies, including those related to small businesses and government procurement.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

This directorate-general was involved in the negotiations for the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that entered into force on 1 February 2019. The EPA is expected to boost trade in goods and services as well as create opportunities for investment. The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation has put in place an ‘EPA Helpdesk’ for companies that want to learn how to benefit from the agreement.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement on the website of the Directorate-General for Trade

EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue

The EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue is a forum for in-depth discussion on issues of mutual interest covering competitiveness and industrial policy. 

This dialogue serves 3 main purposes:

  • It is a forum for in-depth discussion on issues of mutual interest covering competitiveness and industrial policy. This is particularly valuable as both Europe and Japan are confronted with similar challenges, e.g. sluggish economic growth and demographically ageing societies.
  • It reviews the work of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Co-operation and the activities of the business-led EU-Japan Business Round Table.
  • It is the umbrella for 6 technical working groups that meet once a year before the plenary session of the dialogue and report to the annual meeting. The groups are: standards and conformity assessment, automotive, corporate social responsibility, chemicals, environment/climate change, and robotics. 

The annual meeting takes place alternately in Brussels and Tokyo between our director-general and the vice-minister for international affairs of METI.

Public procurement: Industrial Dialogue on Railways Procurement

The EU and Japan are both parties to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). As part of the package leading to the revision of the GPA in April 2014, the EU and Japan agreed to set up an Industrial Dialogue on Railways Procurement. The dialogue committee brings together officials, manufacturers and railway operators from both sides in meetings that are held once or twice a year. The objective is to monitor mutual market access and to discuss and ensure mutual recognition of safety standards in the railways sector. Procurement in this sector is economically significant in Japan and the opening of the market will be in the interests of foreign suppliers and Japanese consumers. 

As a result of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Japan opened the procurement of railways entities covered under the GPA by removing its 'operational safety clause' on transportation with a transitory period of 2 years from the agreement in principle, or 1 year following the entry into force of the EPA, whichever is later. The EU opened procurement of railways entities covered under the GPA, but only for railway facilities and wagons in the urban transport sector with the above transitory periods.

EU - Japan trade on the website of the Directorate-General for Trade