Today, the EU and Japan held their third High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). The meeting centred on economic security following agreement to expand the scope of the dialogue. The HLED was co-chaired by Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, Yasutoshi Nishimura.
The Executive Vice-President and the Ministers concluded the EU-Japan Digital Trade Principles. This instrument will be key for bilateral trade and investment, as it will establish a common understanding on key issues relevant to digital trade and a joint commitment to an open digital economy, free of unjustified barriers to international trade. It will build on internationally agreed principles such as the G7 Digital Trade Principles and the World Trade Organization e-commerce negotiations and it will be non-binding. The Digital Trade Principles will cover data governance, digital trade facilitation, consumer trust and business trust.
Closer strategic cooperation
The Dialogue reaffirmed the importance of strategic cooperation between the EU and Japan, in particular in the current challenging geopolitical context. It also confirmed the their strategic alignmenton the current and future sanctions to curb Russian capabilities, along with other partners such as the US and UK.
Both sides highlighted the necessity to cooperate at bilateral and multilateral level on economic security and discussed possible areas of cooperation on relevant tools such as anti-coercion, export controls and investment screening, especially in view of the recently announced European Economic Security Strategy. In this respect, the Co-Chairs reiterated the importance of collaborating in the G7 anti coercion platform, agreed under the Japanese Presidency of the G7 Summit.
The two sides agreed on the necessity to build resilient supply chains in strategic areas, a crucial element to ensure economic security. In this context, the EU and Japan discussed the EU Critical Raw Material (CRM) Club, and potential future developments. The initiative aims at diversifying sourcing and strengthening supply chains, and bringing together consuming countries and resource-rich countries.
The parties discussed the need for strengthening the international rules-based order by ensuring a successful 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the WTO in February 2024.
Finally, the two sides also explored the possibility to enhance bilateral cooperation under the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce and maintain the momentum to better take advantage of digital trade opportunities. In particular, they stressed the importance of concluding the Data Flows negotiations by the autumn. This will enable both parties to implement modern digital trade rules under the existing EU-Japan EPA, making this agreement fit for the digital era.
The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement entered into force more than four years ago. Over this period, it has proven to be the bedrock of the EU-Japan economic relationship. In 2022, trade in goods between the two partners recovered to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 141 billion euros, confirming strong and resilient trade ties between the EU and Japan.