Ladies and gentlemen

I would like to add my voice of congratulation on the EU-Japan trade and partnership agreement. I am pleased to see a successful outcome and I am pleased that this is a strong signal for free trade among free, open and democratic partners.

Trade agreements such as these also have great digital potential.

They can promote and facilitate trade in digital goods and services, and eventually data flows as well.

They are useful for securing cooperation in digital policies, particularly on cybersecurity - standards, certification and labelling – to reinforce the security of connected objects globally.

And they are a good vehicle for tackling new forms of digital protectionism or other market access issues, by removing unjustified barriers that distort trade flows and investment.

However, this all depends on both partners matching standards, technical and legal, such as on data protection – or adequacy, as it is called.

On adequacy, Japan and the European Union are making good progress and there is increasing convergence between our two systems of data protection.

We have agreed to reach an adequate level of protection by latest early 2018. For me, clearly, the earlier the better - because this would take our long history of successful digital cooperation to the next level.

We have like-minded attitudes for tackling many of the same challenges: present and future, economic, technical and social.

We take a similar approach for how best to use ICT to strengthen the economy and society, how to address global issues such as internet governance and cybersecurity.

Our cooperation in ICT research and development is already strong.

We work together well and there is a strong and trusted relationship.

Building a digital economy is a priority for both of us.

There is ample scope for working more together on policy exchange, on regulatory issues - as well as for mutual investment and business development.

This is already happening.

Just take the string of EU-Japan declarations and commitments: on 5G, free flow of data, internet governance and our Internet of Things industries.

I have no doubt that we can do still more together.

Japan is, and will remain, a key ICT partner for the European Union.

Looking to the future, I am impressed with Japan's policy focus on the role of ICT technologies for future industry and society. The concept of Society 5.0 is to go beyond industry – to digitise society as a whole.

Europe has a similar vision with the Digital Single Market.

It aims to build a truly digital economy and society, to add the digital element to today's physical single marketplace.

We plan to invest politically and financially in emerging growth technologies that will define the digital future: high-performance and quantum computing, big data and cloud services, photonics and microelectronics.

These technologies are important for raising productivity and stimulating economic growth.

They have strategic significance for industry's competitiveness across its sectors - manufacturing, health and farming, for example.

Both Europe and Japan recognise this.

So do areas like robotics and artificial intelligence and microelectronics. We need international cooperation to address some of the ethical and legal challenges related to AI and robotics, such as liability.

Here, we are grateful for the Japanese leadership and efforts in this area - both bilaterally and at the G7.


Ladies and gentlemen

I would like to conclude by updating you on the next stages of our project to build a Digital Single Market.

In May, we took stock of where we stand - and of what we need to do next.

This was based on a great deal of feedback from inside Europe and around the world, including from Japan.

We decided to take a more focused approach in three key areas. All are essential for a functioning digital market.

Firstly, on the data economy - a top priority for Japan as it is for Europe – and specifically on the free flow of data.

This is what gets the data economy moving.

We are now working to make the cross-border free flow of non-personal data possible – to complement the existing rules for movement of personal data.

The idea would be to establish free movement of data as a principle in EU law. 

It would make it clear that it is legal to store and process their data anywhere in the EU. It would end many unjustified data localisation restrictions that apply across Europe today.

In the near future, I would see benefits working with you on further cooperation on data flows with Japan.

We are also working on an initiative to address accessibility and reuse of public and publicly funded data.

Next, cybersecurity - where the whole world should work together and stay vigilant. Cyber-attacks are a constantly evolving global threat that is not going away.

The EU and Japan are already strategic partners on cyber issues, helping to keep cyberspace open, free and secure.

This autumn, we will review the EU's 2013 cybersecurity strategy, since the threat landscape has changed so much since that time.

- we will present certification and labelling measures to make IoT devices more cyber-ready;

- we will review the role of the EU's agency for network and information security to make sure that it can help EU countries respond adequately.

Here, I would like to welcome Japan's work in setting up a specific G7 Cyber Group, following on from last year's G7 summit in Ise-Shima.

I am particularly glad that an EU-Japan project was recently created to encourage, facilitate and develop cooperation between Europe and Japan on cybersecurity and privacy research.

Lastly, online platforms.

By the end of this year, we will address unfair contractual clauses and trading practices that have been identified in platform-to-business relationships.

We plan to move forward with the procedure and principles for removing illegal content – notice and action – while preserving freedom of speech, which is essential.


Ladies and gentlemen

Both Europe and Japan are looking for new ways to use ICT to boost the economy and address social challenges. It is how our peoples and businesses can get the most benefit and opportunity from the digital age.

The Digital Single Market will create major opportunities for European and non-European companies alike.

New opportunities for cooperation between us – and more potential for Japan to conduct business and to invest in the vast European marketplace.

I look forward to our continued work together and wish you a successful conference.

Thank you.