Mandelson urges closer EU-Japan investment ties

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson called, on the 21st April 2008, the issue of investment "unfinished globalisation" for EU and Japan. In a speech in Tokyo, Mandelson said that barriers to investment had kept productive EU investment out of the Japanese economy, despite the fact that Europe had been welcoming such investment for decades. Noting that in 2006, for every dollar Japan had invested in Europe, European companies had only invested three cents in Japan, he said that balancing the EU-Japan investment relationship should be a key goal of EU-Japanese economic ties.

Mandelson argued that Japan's limitations on foreign direct investment were costing Japan in terms of productivity and competitiveness. He said that Europe had benefited in competiveness terms from welcoming Japanese investment and that EU investment was being diverted to China and elsewhere in Asia by Japanese rules.

He also Welcomed plans by the Japanese government to increase the amount of FDI in Japan - including moves to translate many of the relevant laws in to English for the first time. However, it was noted that 2006 had in fact seen record levels of disinvestment in Japan. He said that the EU would work with Japan to encourage greater EU investment.

EU-Japan trade in facts and figures:

  • Between EU and Japan Bilateral trade is around €145 billion per year.
  • The EU and Japan together account for close to 40% of global GDP.
  • The EU trade deficit with Japan was €31.8 billion in 2006.
  • With a share of 3.8% (2006) of EU exports, Japan is the EU's fifth largest export market after the USA, Switzerland, Russia and China.
  • With a 5.7% (2005) share of the EU import market, Japan is the fifth largest source of imports into the EU.