Motion for a resolution - B7-0287/2011Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on EU-Japan Trade relations


further to Question for Oral Answer B7‑0220/2011
pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure

Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa, Daniel Caspary, Sandra Kalniete on behalf of the PPE Group
Metin Kazak, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Marielle De Sarnez on behalf of the ALDE Group
Syed Kamall, Robert Sturdy, Jan Zahradil on behalf of the ECR Group

Procedure : 2011/2625(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


European Parliament resolution on EU-Japan Trade relations

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 February 2011 on Europe 2020[1],

–   having regard its resolution of 25 November 2010 on human rights and social and environmental standards in international trade agreements[2],

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 February 2009 on enhancing the role of European SMEs in international trade[3],

–   having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2008 on the impact of counterfeiting on international trade[4],

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2008 on Trade in services[5],

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2008 on trade in raw materials and commodities[6],

–   having regard to its resolution of 19 February 2008 on the EU's Strategy to deliver market access for European companies[7],

–   having regard to its resolution of 22 May 2007 on Global Europe - external aspects of competitiveness[8],

–   having regard the Communication from the Commission entitled "Trade, Growth and World Affairs - Trade Policy as a core component of the EU's 2020 strategy" COM(2010)0612/3,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission entitled "Global Europe: competing in the world. A contribution to the EU's Growth and Jobs Strategy" (COM(2006)0567),

–   having regard to the Commission's report on "Trade and Investment Barriers" published on 10 March 2011,

–   having regard to the joint declaration on relations between the European Community and its Member States and Japan of 18 July 1991 done at the Hague,

–   having regard to the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the EU and Japan concluded in 2001[9],

–   having regard to Agreement on Cooperation on Anti-competitive Activities between the EU and Japan concluded in 2003[10],

–   having regard the Agreement on Co-operation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters between the European Community and Japan concluded in 2008[11],

–   having regard to the ten-year Action Plan adopted at 10th EU-Japan Summit, held in Brussels on 8 December 2001,

–   having regard to the joint statement adopted at the 19th EU-Japan Summit, held in Tokyo on 28 April 2010,

–   having regard to the joint statement adopted at the 18th EU - Japan Summit, held in Prague on 4 May 2009,

–   having regard to the report by Copenhagen Economics entitled "Assessment of barriers to trade and investment between the EU and Japan", published on 30 November 2009,

–   having regard to the results of the Commission's public consultation on EU - Japan trade relations published on 21 February 2011,

–   having regard to the European Council's conclusions of 24/25 March 2011,

–   having regard to the planned EU-Japan Summit, which should be held in Brussels on
25 May 2011,

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the rule-based multilateral trading system, established through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is the most suitable framework for regulating and promoting open and fair trade,

B.  whereas it is essential to understand multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral agreements as parts of a common toolbox of international affairs, and thus standard features of balanced and complementary political and trade relations,

C.  whereas the EU should remain committed to achieving a balanced outcome of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) as its preferred approach, which would support developing countries' integration into the international trading system, while progressing in parallel with bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements with other industrialised countries where mutual benefits and economic growth can be realistically delivered in a shorter timeframe,

D. whereas in 2009 the EU and Japan represented together more than a quarter of world GDP and more than 20% of world trade,

E.  whereas Japan and the EU are significant investors in each other's economy with a combined volume of foreign direct investment worth €200 billion in 2009,

F.  whereas in 2010 the total amount of bilateral trade between the EU and Japan, the third biggest national economy in the world in terms of GDP, was worth €120 billion; Japan being the sixth biggest trading partner for the EU, and the EU ranking third biggest trading partner to Japan,

G. whereas both the Council and Commission have noted that Japan’s capacity to remove regulatory barriers to trade is a precondition for launching negotiations on the EU-Japan FTA, thus fostering closer economic integration between the two strategic trading partners,

H. whereas the EU and Japan are facing common challenges, such as the political and economic rise of China, economic slowdown in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, decreasing demographics, and a pressing need to access raw materials and energy sources, as well as ensuring price stability thereof, to boost their respective industries,

I.   whereas open and fair trade is a powerful tool to create more growth and societal well-being, building on the comparative advantages of each respective economy and potential synergies flowing from a greater economic integration and new inputs to a knowledge-driven economy,

J.   whereas both the EU and Japan have generally low tariffs on goods with more than two thirds of the Union’s export value to Japan being duty-free and more than one third of Japan’s export value to the EU,

K. whereas despite these low tariffs, bilateral trade volumes between the EU and Japan lag behind the bulk of the EU's trade exchanges with its other main trading partners, mostly because of the negative effects of Japanese non-tariff barriers (NTBs) on market access opportunities for European businesses,

L.  whereas the Copenhagen Economics study of November 2009 estimates that the trade costs associated with non-tariff barriers are higher than the existing tariff levels and that most of the potential economic gains reside in the removal of those NTBs; whereas the study estimates potential increases in EU exports to Japan of €43 billion and €53 for Japanese exports to the EU if tariffs and non-tariff measures are reduced to their fullest possible extent,

M. whereas the Commission in its Trade and Investment Barriers Report 2011 has identified obstacles to access to public procurement, insufficient recognition of international standards with respect to medical devices, and preferential treatment for national champions in the financial services (e.g. postal service) as three major areas of EU concern with respect to Japan's NTBs,

N. whereas IPR protection and enforcement are judged to be of high quality in Japan; Japan and the EU share common objectives and approaches on matters related to IPR apart from on GIs, and have both committed to the plurilateral fight against counterfeiting and piracy as Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) signatories,

O.  whereas the ICT industry is a high-added value sector and a source of growth in both the EU and in Japan, especially with respect to further development of smart products and services,


P.  whereas questions of investment and trade in services need to be raised in all trade discussions with Japan, ensuring that market opening does not compromise either European or Japanese rules on the protection of public services and cultural diversity,

Q. reaffirming its solidarity with the Japanese people following the recent natural disasters,

1.  Considers that the multilateral trading system, embodied by the WTO, remains by far the most effective framework for achieving open and fair trade worldwide; believes that the European Union and Japan should contribute towards a successful conclusion of the DDA negotiations;

2.  Underlines that it is strongly in favour of a free trade agreement between the EU and Japan but is not satisfied with the negligible progress in the High Level Group during the last few years; considers that Japan must make significant commitments on removing non-tariff barriers and obstacles to access to Japanese public procurement before negotiations are launched;

3.  Stresses that trade liberalisation between the EU and Japan should coexist with, rather than hinder, rules on the protection of public services and cultural diversity, and foster regulatory convergence and adherence to multilateral standards where they already exist;

4.  Stresses that it is committed to strengthening trade relations between the EU and Japan by focusing on the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade and investment, including numerous restrictive rules and regulatory measures for EU companies in accessing the Japanese market;

5.  Considers that, in trade negotiations with Japan, the Commission should concentrate, as one of its priorities, on removing those barriers and obstacles that are of greatest hindrance to market access for European SMEs;

6. Considers that reduction or elimination of Japanese tariffs on ICT products, including their parts and components, would step up competitiveness and generate new high-quality jobs in the EU; calls, in addition, for intensified mutual cooperation between the EU and Japan in the field of R&D and especially on IPR enforcement to accelerate the sharing of information on patents between the respective patent offices;


7. Considers that the Commission's level of ambition in respect of the EU-Japan FTA, and especially increasing market access for European businesses, should be complemented by jointly agreed comprehensive sustainable development commitments;

8. Emphasises that the EU-Japan FTA would not only yield benefits in terms of an increase in the bilateral trade in goods and services, but also foster cooperation on the EU's horizontal priorities, such as cooperation in the field of innovation, regulatory cooperation and the fight against market abuse, and, last but not least, cooperation on tackling broad environmental challenges;

9. Calls on the Member States and the Commission, in all trade discussions with Japan, to support and promote initiatives aimed at promoting human rights and social and environmental standards;

10. Is of the opinion that a comprehensive sustainability and impact assessment would help quantify existing benefits, as well as areas to step up progress on in current EU-Japan trade relations, especially in terms of their contribution to the creation of jobs in each country; asks the Commission to present a detailed sectoral analysis of this kind to both Parliament and the Council, thus paving the way for shared understanding of common interests and untapped potential in a transparent way;

11. Recommends that effective bilateral safeguard measures be included in the design of an EU-Japan FTA to prevent a surge in imports that would cause, or threaten to cause, serious injury to EU and Japanese industry, especially in sensitive sectors such as the automotive, electronics, aviation and machinery industries;

12. Expresses its conviction that the EU-Japan FTA has the potential to lead to a win-win situation, beneficial for both economies;

13. Emphasises that Parliament will be asked to give its consent to the potential EU-Japan FTA;

14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and to the Government and Parliament of Japan.