Tag Archives: EU-Japan FTA/EPA

Franco-Japan relations: 160 years on celebrate “Japonism 2018”

Article by E. Motoko Inui
Cross-Culture Advisor / Japan Market Consultant / Researcher
GBMC (Global Business & Management Consulting)


Franco-Japan relations: 160 years on celebrate “Japonism 2018”

Franco-Japan relations: 160 years on celebrate “Japonism 2018”

by E. Motoko Inui Cross-Culture Advisor / Japan Market Consultant / Researcher GBMC (Global Business & Management Consulting)

by E. Motoko Inui
Cross-Culture Advisor / Japan Market Consultant / Researcher
GBMC (Global Business & Management Consulting)


2018 celebrate the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between France and Japan.

In 1858, Japan has opened up its door to the Western world and signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in Edo (the former Tokyo).  Until then, most of the relation Japan had with the western countries were limited to mainly Portugal, Dutch and the U.K.

Since the signing of the treaty, the relation has extended into culture as well as trade.

Japan has taken part in the Universal exposition in 19th centuries, where many examples of Japanese arts and crafts were exhibited in great numbers for the first time outside the country.  There were collectors and artists who showed great interest in Japanese prints and decorative arts for example, such enthusiasm for Japanese Arts and craft was to become known as “Japonism”.  Many great French Impressionists have collected Japanese prints and took some form of influence from it.  In the same way, many artists in Japan working in the early  20th century were keen to include new method of working from the west into their work as well. 

Other form of arts and culture in exchanges were in Cinema, literature, Manga, Animation and Cuisine. In regards to culinary and fashion, Japan has gone through major changes in the last century taking in vast influences from the west.  There were many expats and tourists from Japan coming to European countries especially in the 80s. There were considerably decreased in the 90s due to the economic depression in Japan. But since it’s gradual recovery, many European countries still ranks at the top of the holiday destination abroad. 


With the Free Trade Agreement and Economic Cooperation being finalised, the trade would inevitably increase between the European countries and Japan as well as cooperation in other area of the economy.  Working together in the mutual problem of the society like in renewable energy and security to name a few.

In regards to the security concern in the world, France and Japan has recently signed a bilateral agreement of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement which will deepen security cooperation.  The mutual area of concern is maintaining “a free and open Indo-Pacific” and is aiming to strengthen coordination in maritime issues based on the rules of law in protecting the region.   Free and open seas are the foundation for the peace and prosperity of the international trade. 

2018 celebrate the 160th anniversary of bilateral relation between France and Japan.  Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force took part in the Bastille Day parade in Paris in July.   France celebrates Japanese culture with 8 month festival covering various topics in different locations throughout the country.   


EU-Japan EPA: Japan and EU settle trade pact, aim for 2019 start !!

EU-Japan Trade

EU-Japan Trade

Good news, at last !!!

Japan and the European Union wrapped up negotiations Friday (Decembre 8, 2017) on a far-reaching economic partnership agreement that would encompass about 40% of the value of global trade. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker affirmed the move by phone. The finalized pact, which the parties aim to sign next summer at the earliest and have take effect in 2019, would also cover about 30% of the world’s gross domestic product.”   (Nikkei Asian Review)

More info from: 



“Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono today announced the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Building on the political agreement in principle reached during the EU-Japan Summit on 6 July 2017, negotiators from both sides have been tying up the last details in order to finish the legal text. This process is now finalised.”

(EU Commission Press Release, Decembre 8, 2017)

More info from:





Looking forward to a prosperous EU-Japan year 2018!!

The GBMC Team

EU-Japan FTA: towards Open Markets and Stronger Economies!

EU-Japan Trade

EU-Japan Trade


EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska:

“If we can work together effectively on the basis of open markets, our economies will gain, our businesses will gain, and our consumers will gain,” insisted EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in her speech at the EU-Japan Business Round Table in Tokyo to an audience that included Japanese Cabinet Ministers and businesspeople.

“The free trade agreement that we are negotiating will stimulate growth on both sides.

She noted that there are those who believe markets and borders should be shut, but pointed to the fact that this has not worked historically. If Japan and the EU are to move forward and grow economically, these voices of opposition must be proven wrong; and in order to do this, both entities must work closely together.”    (EUROBIZ News)


Very well. Enough negotiations: When will a deal be signed?? Meanwhile, because of  higher trade tariffs, Europeans companies are loosing ground (market shares) in Japan to US rivals and others!!

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EU-Japan EPA: Why Europe needs to finalise a deal right now!!

Building a Bridge between Japan and the EU

Building a Bridge between Japan and the EU


The Executive Seminar “Building a Bridge between the Asia Pacific and the EU: The Strategic Significance of the EU-Japan FTA/EPA”, co-organised on February 10th, 2016 in Paris by JETRO and the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, was a good opportunity for stakeholders to assess the current state of the trade negotiations as well as to reflect upon the whole process.

Indeed, while it was announced in 2015 that both parties would like to speed up the process and to finalise a “deal” by the end of the year, no breakthrough has been announced so far. Apparently, from the roundtable comments, it seems that both parties have acquired a “good understanding” of each other’s positions and that some progress has been made in taking Non-Tariff Measures, but that serious negotiations are is still needed.

Meanwhile, the flexibility within the TPP agreement seems to have made possible an early deal (November 2015) for the 12 related countries. The pact concerns Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It now awaits approval by each of the dozen members’ legislatures — a potentially contentious and lengthy process.

According to the Japan Times, ” some provisions in the 1,500-page document allow for nations to renegotiate terms and rules in some cases after a certain period of time. Such conditional arrangements helped them to conclude more than five years of intensive talks. The text also says multiple countries will relax visa requirements to let workers and their families relocate more easily. One of the provisions in the text allows nations to discuss the bringing forward of phased tariff abolition at the request of partners.

The 12 countries will also review within 3 years of entry into force (of the agreement) and at least every 5 years thereafter the economic relationship and partnership” among them and “consider any proposal to amend or modify the pact, according to the text. The Japanese government will remove tariffs on 95.1 percent of imported products, compared with the abolition of duties on nearly 100 percent of imported items by other members, as tariffs will remain for some agricultural products.”

During the Seminar’s roundtable, experts agreed on the need for Europe to speed up the negotiation process, as other trade blocks (like Japan and the US) have already concluded various trade deals worldwide: Europe is left behind in the race and could loose some bargaining power when negotiating new “deals”!!

Further, not having a “deal” right now in the Food Industry means that European exporters will loose ground against a huge amount of exporters originating from the TPP zone and will ultimately loose business as well as market shares. More concretely, Danish pork subject to 100% tariffs will have little chance to compete with US pork exempt of tariffs !!! Further, the removal of restrictions should also concern Services (representing 80% of the economy in both blocks) and not only focus on Product Market Access!

To conclude, in order to protect its interests,  the EU should move ahead fast on the base of what has already been agreed or negotiated and sign a deal with Japan very soon (in March 2016), eventually putting aside problematic sectors (like Railways business) or complex issues (like Public Procurement) where more time is needed for new NTM implementation and monitoring. Negotiations should however continue after the “deal” which would be reviewed and amended 3 years later, for example.


Philippe Huysveld



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