November 7, 2019
On November 6, 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Germany, held the 18th Vice-Minister-Level Regular Consultation in Berlin, aiming to enrich and develop Japan-Germany industrial cooperation. Following the consultation, the two sides concluded a Joint Statement on Economic Policy and Cooperation in order to affirm their future efforts for strengthening advancement and cooperation involving the Japan-Germany economic relationship.
1. Overview of the series of Vice-Minister-Level Regular Consultations
The series of Vice-Minister-Level Regular Consultations between METI and BMWi are opportunities for the two sides to hold regular discussions, which were inaugurated under the agreement concluded in September 1987 between then-MITI Minister Tamura and then-Economics Minister Bangemann, former West Germany. Since 1998, 17 consultations have been held in Japan and Germany, alternately, and the two sides have been exchanging frank views on macroeconomy, industrial structures, investment promotion and other issues from a wide variety of viewpoints.
Against this backdrop, on November 6, 2019, METI and BMWi held the 18th Vice-Minister-Level Regular Consultation in Berlin, bringing together Mr. Tanaka Shigehiro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, METI, Dr. Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary, BMWi, and other officials.
At the consultation, the two sides exchanged views on: current situations of the global economy and those of the Japanese and German economies, the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU and other international circumstances, cooperation in the Industrie 4.0 / Connected Industries policies, the fields of automobiles, space and energy and other areas.
2. Conclusion of the Joint Statement on Economic Policy and Cooperation
Following the consultation, Vice-Minister Tanaka and State Secretary Nussbaum concluded a Joint Statement on Economic Policy and Cooperation. This statement aims to affirm their future efforts for strengthening advancement and cooperation involving the Japan-Germany economic relationship, which is under the two Japan-Germany agreements: the Hannover Declaration, which was concluded in March 2017 between then-METI Minister Seko, then-MIC Minister Takaichi and then-BMWi Minister Zypries; and the Japan-Germany Joint Declaration of Intent on Economic Policy and Economic Cooperation, which was concluded in October 2018 between then-METI Minister Seko, then-MIC Minister Ishida and the current BMWi Minister Altmaier.
The following is an outline of the joint statement:
(1) Multilateral trade policy
- The two sides emphasized the importance of free and open markets and multilateral trading systems that observe rules placing the WTO at the core;
- They welcomed convening of a trilateral meeting of the trade ministers between Japan, the EU and the US to correct market-distorting measures;
- They stated their intention to accelerate discussions on digital economy at the WTO and other organizations in light of the concept of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) under the framework of the “Osaka Track” launched by taking the opportunity of the G20 Osaka Summit, and also confirmed cooperation to enhance trust concerning data security;
- They welcomed enriching of the economic relationship between Japan and Germany in association with the enforcement of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); and
- They reconfirmed the importance of cooperation in critical technology control.
(2) Industrial policy
- Industrie 4.0 / Connected Industries: The two sides highly commended the convening of expert meetings on international standardization on smart manufacturing and industrial cybersecurity and the publication of the joint reports by the meetings.
- Automotive: They welcomed: progress in past cooperation in safety evaluation of autonomous driving and development of successor projects; discussions on harmonization of infrastructures for chargeable batteries; and start of joint research on internal combustion.
- Exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes: They welcomed exchange of private companies between Japan and Germany and convening of a business matching event in February 2020.
- Research and development: They commended advancement of support measures for joint research and development between private companies in Japan and Germany on the basis of a co-funding style.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): They welcomed commencement of joint research for artificial intelligence of autonomous driving between research institutes of both countries.
- Start-ups: They welcomed Japanese start-ups’ participation in an event in Germany and agreed on future participation of German start-ups in relevant events in Japan.
(3) Energy policy
- The two sides welcomed advancement of cooperation, e.g., Japan-Germany Energy Policy Dialogues, which will be held under the Declaration of Cooperation (DOC) on Energy Transition between BMWi and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy concluded at the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transition and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth held in June 2019.
- Joint Statement of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan on economic policy and cooperation(PDF:96KB)
Division in Charge
Europe Division, Trade Policy Bureau