• DIGITALEUROPE reiterates Commitment to Free Trade and Open Markets in Japan

    14 May 2018DIGITALEUROPE DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl spent one week in Tokyo to engage with business leaders and government, reiterating DIGITALEUROPE’s continued commitment to free and multilateral trade as well as open access to markets. By engaging with various public and private stakeholders, the DG sought to establish a trustworthy dialogue on a likeminded approach to technology.

    In Tokyo, DIGITALEUROPE DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl participated in the 7th ICT Strategies Workshop Dialogue, jointly organised by the European Commission and the Japanese Government. Both parties reiterated their anticipation towards the coming into force of the Economic Partnership Agreement. At the same time, they highlighted the need for adequate and effective implementation. During the one-day event, both Japanese and European digital policy initiatives were reviewed in detail, including in-depth discussions on cyber security, platforms, digital skills, infrastructure, AI, IoT and big data. The Japanese Ministry of Information and Communication presented its holistic concept of Society 5.0, which shall put the human at the centre whilst resolving economic and social challenges by means of digital innovation. The authorities echoed the importance of the ICT industry in both economies, demanding further cooperation between the two partners.

    DIGITALEUROPE DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl contributed with the ICT industry perspective during the entire day, which was valued by the Japanese and European authorities. Among others, she explained that in order to face the challenges of digitization, both traditional industries and the ICT sector had to deal with business disruptions in a proactive manner. She passionately outlined that data was one of the main sources for the next economic growth, as our economy was moving from scale of production and units to that of markets and data. Consequently, established business practices would have to be changed. With changes being of global nature, it was natural that solutions had to be global as well. Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl reiterated that the EU and Japan were well positioned to lead this process together as honest and well-intentioned partners, having many communalities such as a value-based society. The EPA was a model for the 21st century’s economic order based on free and fair trade.

    Moreover, DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl received the opportunity to speak at the EU-Japan Business Roundtable. The roundtable illustrates an annual reunion of senior executives from 50 leading European and Japanese companies held alternatively in Europe and in Japan to foster dialogue between the Japanese and European industries. This year’s focus was on the EU-Japan EPA, digital and data economy, sustainable development goals and regulatory cooperation and interoperability. The policy recommendations adopted at the end of the day were directly submitted to the government of Japan and to the EU authorities. During her guest speech, DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl welcomed the anticipated Economic Partnership Agreement as model for the 21st century’s economic order based on free and fair trading practices. At the same time, she recalled the need for mechanisms enabling data to flow freely between the EU and Japan. At last, she also stressed the importance of establishing a mutual understanding of our data protection systems for the ICT sector and traditional industries, with the goal of ensuring mutual adequacy as soon as possible.

    By means of an extensive and close engagement with a broad variety of public and private stakeholders, DIGITALEUROPE could establish a trustworthy dialogue based on values, commitment and shared interests. Japan and the EU have not only many communalities but share also common challenges such as an ageing society and the conversion of existing industries through digitization. Through bilateral and international dialogue with likeminded nations such as Japan, we can ensure a likeminded approach to technology, regulatory cooperation and a data economy in the future. To this extent, DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl plans to continue participating in ICT strategies workshops and business roundtables to uphold the momentum and ensure the development of an open, safe, competitive, sustainable and inclusive digital global market.

    In going forward, the DIGITALEUROPE delegation identified three areas where collective action can be taken to make a difference in enhancing the competitiveness and inclusiveness of the emerging global digital society. In future dialogues with likeminded countries, DIGITALEUROPE DG Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl will focus her efforts on three core themes: firstly, a common understanding of standards on cyber security and cyber defence must be developed; secondly, guidelines and definitions on a human centric approach shall help to create a society that embraces Al; thirdly, research and development goes hand in hand with economic prosperity. Joint cooperation in the area of IoT, AI and Cyber Technologies shall also lay the groundwork for future aligned standards.


    For more information, contact:

    Sarah Wagner
    Policy Manager
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