the EU Japan relationship what’s in store don’t forget to hit like subscribe and share hi everyone welcome back to Mission Japan today I have the honor of welcoming the ambassador from the EU Patricia Fleur welcome to the show it’s my pleasure to be here it’s great the EU has been a real force with trade agreements in between Japan and the EU there’s a lot going on recently for allowing free trade between Japan and the EU this is a huge deal absolutely right we are creating one of the largest markets through our economic partnership agreement meaning with more than 600 million people in this area we of course if you put them Japan and EU together then globally we are more than one-third of global GDP and more than one-third of global trade and so you can imagine that the new partnership agreement offers a lot in terms of growth in terms of business opportunities in terms also of benefits them to our consumers both in the EU and in Japan so good times for us to landmark decisions were signed late last year and they were put into implementation in February shoppers in Japan can already see the benefits of that absolutely right and we signed last July the economic partnership agreement and the strategic partnership agreement now the entry into force of the economic one was 1st of February this year and indeed I’ve seen them in my neighborhood in here oh you can already see that European wine is on offer for cheaper prices and that is exactly what we wanted so let’s go let’s bring the tariffs down let’s increase trade because it will be beneficial to both of us the second agreement strategic partnership is not less important but more complicated it’s more complicated and that’s why it’s having a little bit of difficulty in the implementation stage right when it’s in provisional application why is that because it’s an agreement which all member states of the European Union also need to ratify this has a longer preparation period but it covers all of the global challenges which we have to face together so the idea is that the EU and Japan really become strategic partners in pushing for good ocean governance getting rid of the plastics them in the oceans for disease for implementing the Paris some agreement about climate change so increasing adaptation lowering emissions and making sure that we can avoid them future natural disasters related to climate this is one of the first international agreements that actually initiates the the Paris Accord isn’t it it is from the side it’s the first of our agreements that explicitly mentions the Paris agreement and the commitment to fully implement and so therefore it’s very good because of course as you as you know Japan and the EU are major economies and so we can be trendsetters we can get a good example also for others to follow in in this area well isn’t that kind of the whole idea that it’s it’s it’s a leap forward it’s not like the free-trade agreement or TPP it’s it’s actually something broader and more integrated than than the the former bilateral or unilateral trade agreement absolutely I mean first of all the the economic partnership agreement is what we call a deep trade agreement and so it’s more comprehensive and it’s bigger than anything else that the EU has signed before what does it mean it means that yes we bring the tariffs down but you also look at non-tariff barriers so we try for instance to to bring our regulations and rules and standards together what does it mean it means that if you are a business in Japan and you produce a certain item that needs to conform with certain you know specific measurements or standards then you should also at the same time produce for the European market so if the standards are the same or are mutually accepted you just am lower the barriers and to production to trade between those two mu neighbors so it’s very good absolutely so the benefits that the Japanese are seen in this trade agreement are also being witnessed by people in the European community as well automobile parts other accessories electronics that sort of thing are being offered now on the shelves for a lower price indeed I mean this the whole agreement the idea of the agreement is of course to bring positive results for both partners so that means that you are

absolutely right that car prices and you know prices for car parts should go down in the you when we talk about Japanese production but even more I would also look at what we call geographically indications what what does it mean I mean Scott Scott we saw a fringe but soccer or Kobe beef or or ramen or you know some some other specialties that you can actually bring from Japan to the table in European restaurants where of course them the consumer would like to know this is the real thing right so if I if I if I read in the menu that this is pure soccer or our Mori or short shoe or whatever the thing is then the you have some confidence you have the confidence because is protected under the agreement there are two really large agreements that we’re talking about it’s it’s difficult to talk about them at the same time one is about trade and services and the other is about the strategic partnership the strategic partnership is is much deeper and it requires a kind of governing mechanism to so the EU has to set up actually a mechanism here in Tokyo an office for providing guidance and perhaps even wane dispute when what you describe is actually what the EU Delegation does so that is our task I mean like an embassy the u delegation is is in charge of now looking at the implementation but we also we will have our the huge though isn’t it what a huge task that’s a huge task but we are not alone I mean that means that we of course are working together with member states and of course we also there there is something we just called them the Japan EU center for industrial cooperation which is a body which was which was actually created 30 years ago in order to increase business opportunities and business cooperation and so they are will also be part of our linkage with Japanese and new businesses Amir in Tokyo by the way they also have an office in Brussels so they link again between Brussels and Tokyo the there there is going to be what you call the governance structure tool which means that there will be joint committees and working committees looking at all different aspects of the agreements and their implementation and then will meet on a regular basis and actually we are going to have the very first joint committees under these two agreements in Tokyo is this not being created from whole cloth this is a new initiative isn’t it well the agreements actually foresee that you have this kind of a governance structure and I would like to point out out that both Japan and the EU were very fast in terms of ratification and creating also these structures I think I’ve never seen an international agreement which you sign in July and then you bring it into force barely six months later gosh yeah why do we have to thank for that well it’s our political leaders and you have but you you have to thank them because I think they had the vision to see that these agreements met her sure and if you have the political will to actually be fast and you can convince your Parliament’s your diet to then also move fast in terms of their procedures then it’s doable well I was actually thinking more about the Trump decision to kill TPP as an as an impetus to that is that an inaccurate statement well I’m sure that you are right in saying that the global environment that we currently see has convinced everyone in the EU and also in Japan that we have to do something if we believe right if we believe that free fair and open trade and a rules-based international economic system is the right way to go you got to do it we have to you have to be an example and so therefore these agreements they do send a powerful message it’s it’s a message about a global system as we think it should work right and that doesn’t mean that you that you should increase barriers to trade or to economic interaction and economic cooperation but rather that you should bring it down okay and one of the techniques that’s been applied to assist this speed is that there are certain things that are just difficult there at agriculture is difficult opening certain sectors of the Japanese economy is difficult so they have certain stages where they’re grandfathered in in a step step process so when the whole agreement is fully implemented that’s what in eight years of ten years 15 years

yes 15 years the negotiation in any agreement especially also about trade and economic interaction is about balancing the different interests now very simple example if you are a consumer you like French champagne or wine from Italy or from Spain or from Greece where a finger bingo okay well I do too well then of course for you it’s simple because you simply want the price to go down so you want to get rid of the terrorists but of course yeah there is another side to this which is about agriculture and the producers so of course if you open the Japanese market to additional competition or you open the European market to you know cheaper imports for cars and automobile parts then your industry or your farmers might say well but what about us and so that means that you to find the right balance indeed and the the agreement contains some clauses which say that for the first years you actually have a quota so you can use these better but only up to a certain you know volume of input or there are these well subsidies this is not about subsidies really it because my I mean this this it’s about trade so that means that you have quotas and then of course you also have stages of lowering the tariffs so you don’t go for some products we went from like more than 30 percent of tariff to zero in one day which of course is great that’s you but for other products it is it is phases so you have the first year then the second year then after five years and so that’s why I say after 15 years 15 years that will be the moment when actually we’ve reaped the full benefits of the agreement and let me say one other thing we’ve done projections of course in in Brussels about what would we expect in terms of impact and the projections actually would say that we would we would actually look forward to an increase in trade of about 20-25 percent so um you have to balance these interests in order to do that you might use quotas which means that you can you can use preferential tariffs but only up to a certain volume of trade and also what we’ve also agreed in the agreement is that for certain products and you don’t go from like 35% of tariffs down to zero in one day which of course would be perfect but for some other products you might actually have several years where you then decrease some step by step and only after fifteen years will have achieved then and reap the full benefits of the agreement so one of the things that came up immediately one there was an implementation was the rules of origin and it began to stop things at the port and this caused a little bit of confusion apparently they’ve worked that out but there’s you you have to be able to show and reveal how your product was made what inputs were put into it and where these inputs came from in order to benefit from the agreement actually you don’t you don’t you don’t so it’s like it’s but it’s true that there was a problem that was a problem right yes that was a problem now let me explain because of course you have mentioned TPP before so Japan of course recently together with other Asian countries it has entered into TPP which came into force in December TPP demands what you say so it has a very complicated procedure in terms of what you how you need to prove where you know the origin is of this product the EPA the agreement between the EU and Japan says that actually yes the the importer or the the European company exporting needs of course to certify what kind of a product it is so it’s G’s or it’s a wine or whatever it is but that’s where it ends it’s not required that you actually certify anything else so so therefore the confusion which we had and which actually led to some difficulties for also companies was that somehow everybody got asked then for to provide these additional information while it was relevant for some but not for others now very recently of course we work this out together with the EU delegation and with a colleagues from the European tax agency texted so we looked at that and now now these days you can find instructions on the internet on the website and from also the customs authorities here in Japan which tell you that if you are an EU company then you might still be asked but you don’t need them to provide this information and it

will not lead to any denial of import right my computer was on fire for the first five days as all of the embassies were weighing in and saying look there’s been been a misunderstanding at the port from the Japanese authorities applying the standard for the TPP that are not applicable to the EPA indeed now let me let me underline one other point because I think that’s that’s very relevant to us because the colleagues that they actually in the trade section of the EU Delegation they work you know every day with our Japanese and partners in met he in the text authorities in the customs authorities and let me say that this is an extremely constructive cooperation so that means what that means to say that what if you start a new agreement nobody can be surprised that you run into certain difficulties I mean it’s it’s clear because you you change the procedures you have to establish new procedures you know people are not yet aware so it’s normal the the key is can one sit down and then you know sort out these problems you know as soon as possible and come to an understanding as to how we go about this and in this regard I must say that we have a very very good and constructive cooperation here between the two no it’s a monumental task and it’s only going to get bigger and and probably a little bit more complicated as we move into it how does the EU handle that in in Tokyo I mean how large is the staff that you have and is this going to be expanding and do you have enough space in Minami Azabu where you’re you’re very fabulous building is located now we have about 60 staff 60 colleagues working and you know about you know half of them a little bit less and half our officials coming from actually Brussels meaning they all work for the European Union seconded or they come here with their families and live well they come here with their families and live so so they are they are colleagues and who work for the EU but of course they come from all over the you means that there are Spanish colleagues Italian colleagues colleagues from Lithuania colleagues from Romania so it’s a very it’s a very you know colourful crowd if you look at that and then and then of course we have also local colleagues so that we whom we hired may here in Tokyo and they are both Japanese but they also some of them also come from the EU or you know but have lived in Tokyo for a long time but um all of them come with their families and so Tokyo is our is our home now is it big enough to to implement all of the agreements well of course I could always use more staff but then I don’t know any ambassador or a head of an office we would say otherwise but no frankly I think that we actually have grown so the number of staff you know has increased and we also will run separate and specific projects to support implementation so we will also outsource some of the town so we work with a contractor who then might you know organize workshops or seminars about rules of origin about geographical indications what does it mean we have we work with the contract agency to – for instance to invite EU small and medium-sized businesses to participate in big fairs like very recently where there was a big in in Tokyo Big Sight we had a big fair about water in the environment even and so we brought about 40 small businesses from the you to show their wares at the fair and we’ll have another one on health and and aging and medical equipment so there’s lots of things that we then we initiate but then of course we work with others in order to to implement so that’s good you know one of the things that I read recently is that the largest thing that kind of prevents a better integration of EU and Japan is just the flow of people and that the and the expectations of Japanese about people from the EU or foreigners generally is is not very well developed and similarly apparently in the EU the inclusion of Japanese companies or Japanese workers is is not very well developed and that seems to be the biggest stumbling block that is of course one stumbling block which is also not so easily overcome which is language I mean it’s of course in the EU I think many are now used to you know to knowing several European languages and then of course

because of the European Union you have of course I engagement also for young people students I mean they go and study you know all over the place and you can do that without you don’t need visas you don’t you know you have the euro the same currency so it’s easy so of course between Japan and and the you to learn Japanese I’ve started doing it it is quite a big task so still working on it so I can say Nyong’o or Bank Yoshi Tomas yes that I can say but it’s hard yes and with the kanji so therefore of course if you want to bring like you want to bring let’s say scientists especially is technicians engineers you know and then you say yeah but and then you have to work and integrate into a Japanese company for a joint venture or something like that that’s a challenge yes a challenge so um well I think we have to get better at that and I think it’s very important also in the field of science and technology research and development because mmm actually I think that Japan and the and the EU face the same challenge in that regard namely that our wealth our prosperity our stability peace it really depended on our technological powers and our prowess in in terms of producing new technologies and and new products now care in this changing world with a lot of competition also from around countries are not so far from here can we do it again so can be can we remain on the cutting edge of say artificial intelligence or society 5.0 so robotics and and I think that there is scope for actual actual good cooperation in the science field but then also of course in terms of application but to leverage that we need to increase our corporation in these areas you know we’ve we’ve talked about these two landmark agreements that are opening up trade and investment between the two countries we haven’t talked about data transmission and this is a huge issue that actually is being addressed by the the two countries by the EU and by Japan and I had never really thought that it was that huge of an issue until I looked at the implementing legislation and the fact of transferring information safely and and securely and making sure that whatever it is that you’ve bought through the internet or through some sort of a device like that is actually secure and was a big deal is addressed in the agreements as well indeed and in in this regard and very recently in Tokyo and in Brussels some decisions were made about data adequacy so we made an agreement which said that our rules and standards in the data field for data protection for consumer protection of private data but also company data business information is mutually adequate so we recognize each other’s standards what does it mean it means that then the EU and Japan actually has created one of the biggest unified data spaces on this globe and it matters because big data will be the key to entering into this new digital digital age so if we talk about a digital society of the future that you can actually have trust in the transmission modes of data all over a certain space is some ISM is extremely relevant so therefore it is it opens up scope for this type of business engagement and people-to-people engagement which we need between Japan D so you’re not afraid of challenges and tough things that just happen on a daily basis what I’d like to ask you about now is what’s going on with brexit with regard to these agreements between Japan and the EU because it is most likely that the EU will not consist of England as well first of all let me say that also at a personal level I really do regret that the UK is currently on a path to leave the EU I do respect at the same time the decision made by the British people mm-hm it’s a it’s a sovereign decision it’s their democratic right it’s their choice however at the same time I think whatever the future now may hold in terms of the the brexit term itself to

have a very strong partnership in future between the UK and the EU is essential because they might leave the EU of course currently we still don’t know how that will function but they might leave the U but they will remain our European neighbors and I mean I know of so many mixed couples so many you know businesses engaged on either side of you know the channel so let so let me say that in this sense the UK will not leave Europe now about wreck City is where where we are today now the EU has negotiated with the UK a withdrawal agreement it would actually ensure that there can be a smooth and orderly brexit which would give certainty to the many citizens who actually have a stake in this for personal reasons or business reasons or whatever and it would also give certainty of course then atchoo am a japanese some companies the EU has invested a lot of energy and a lot of other resources in these negotiations in order to handle this very difficult situation you know as well as possible but of course it depends on the decisions and to be made them in London and and and that is where we are right now the EU is prepared as far as we can for all scenarios of course nobody hopes that there will be something like a heart brexit but we just will need to see where decision-making in in in London will so it currently it looks like there’s a party that they’re not going to be invited to but the party hasn’t quite started as far as the UK is concerned or it has started they can’t benefit from the agreement until the made a firm decision well it’s a it’s very simple because some currently today their party UK is a member of the European Union meaning with all rights and obligations and therefore is of course fully covered by EPA today and by all other agreements that exist between the European Union and any other third country now the moment they leave the moment they leave it then depends on what is then the new regulation what each room will you you can already see that in front of you well so like if of course there was a withdrawal agreement if it were ratified by the British Parliament then we would have an interim period where the UK would still they would not be a member but the withdrawal agreement actually foresees that all of the existing agreements would continue to apply in this interim period until the end of 2020 however since at this moment you know we haven’t seen ratification of this agreement by the UK of course we don’t know what will happen but as long as the UK is a member of the EU all of our agreements of course then also apply to them you can imagine how much scurrying is going on under the carpet with the the administrators and the bureaucrats because they’ve got to prepare for two perhaps three different scenario and maybe they’re taking taking a benefit from the agreement and then when it stops that benefit is not theirs anymore the maybe the prices go up or the the restrictions on importation come up the the brexit does not change anything in terms of the relations and also the economic relations between the EU and Japan so if or in any other country of you know the you or you are in Japan then the brexit will have no impact on these these relations of course if you are in the UK then it all depends on will the UK still be in or will they be out and then if they are out under which conditions so this this is where we are on on the brexit issue mm-hmm what when you came to Japan were you presenting your credentials to the Emperor yes okay so it’s the whole deal isn’t it it’s the whole deal and I must say I come from Germany by the way and I was working in the German Foreign Ministry before and I’ve worked as an ambassador at this pilot in this bilateral capacity before so let me say that there’s very little difference actually between a an ambassador of a normal state and the European Union ambassador in terms of my

my activities with the outside world so I give interviews I go to meetings with ministers I meet parliamentarians I meet NGOs the difference is that I need to base whatever I do and say on a unified foreign policy which is shared among all of the European states but that of course gives me also additional strength yes because I know it’s broad-based and it’s not only representing one national interest but it’s representing really the European continent the EU sounds like a much tougher job to me it’s actually a pleasure because I meet my colleagues some of all the EU Member States and regularly at actually we had a meeting this morning and also the other colleagues the commercial council as the political councillors the press councillors they meet in this circle very regularly which allows us to actually be well coordinated and to also have a joint message for Japan thank you the European Union just decide a couple of agreements that makes Japan and the you much tighter much more bound together one-third of global GDP please stay tuned

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