Barcelona, June 6, 2018.- Close to one hundred representatives of Spanish and Japanese businesses have gathered today at the headquarters of Foment del Treball with the objective of examining and exchanging viewpoints on the EPA free trade agreement and the impact it will have on trade relations between Spain and Japan. During the event, organized by the Japan-Spain Business Circle (CEJE), Foment, and Casa Asia, companies such as Mitsubishi Electric Europe, Miquel y Costas, and UBE, among others, have demonstrated their optimism regarding the implementation of this new treaty, which will create a marked difference in the relationships between their companies and the Spanish and Japanese markets, respectively.
This past December, the European Union and Japan announced the end of negotiations for what is, according to the European Commission, the largest bilateral trade agreement negotiated by the EU to date. Jorge Lasheras, president of CEJE, has shown his satisfaction with the agreement and has noted “its importance for Spanish businesses and Japanese companies located in our country. The EPA will open up many opportunities and make it easier to access the Japanese market, a market worth working with that is demanding but reliable.”
Generally speaking, the agreement commits to remove the trade barriers that impede the competitiveness of exports to Japan, to establish common trade rules, and to demonstrate that these two great powers reject protectionism. Joan Canals, president of the Foment International Commission, has highlighted that the treaty will not only liberalize trade between both countries, but that it will also serve “to facilitate the opening of the service markets (financial services, electronic commerce services, transportation services, telecommunication services), to guarantee that EU businesses have access to the Japanese public procurement markets, and to make advancements in other areas of interest.”
Currently, EU companies export more than 58 billion euros in goods and 28 billion euros in services to Japan. In Spain, despite the financial crisis, trade with Japan has experienced remarkable growth. In 2017, Spanish businesses exported a value of more than 2.4 billion euros to Japan, a 1.7% increase from the previous year, placing Japan among the Top 10 Spanish export destinations. On the other hand, there are 243 Japanese companies present in Spain that have committed to consolidating their position in the Spanish market and to improving trade relations between the two countries.
Also participating in the event, which was held on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic and commercial relationships between Japan and Spain, were Cecilia Navarro, director of Regional Trade and ICEX in Barcelona; Alfonso M. Jimenez Murcia, deputy director general for trade policy with Asia, Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness; Amadeo Jensana, economics and business director at Casa Asia; the Honorable Mr. Naohito Watanabe, consul general of Japan in Barcelona; Ignasi Nieto, deputy general director of Miquel y Costas; Manuel Raventós, president of Raventós i Blanc; Salvador Agüera, general affairs manager of Mitsubishi Electric Europe; Bruno Debievre, executive officer for UBE; Juan Serrano, general director of the Balfegó Group; and Antoni Esteve, president of Esteve Teijin.