EU-Japan Business Collaborations in Third Markets

December 03 2019


Connectivity is a megatrend of the 21st century. Rapidly growing interdependence between countries provides unprecedented opportunities for the well-being, safety and resilience of countries and societies. Against this background, the EU and Japan have built strong ties between them with the EPA and the SPA. With the Connectivity Partnership Agreement, signed by PM Abe and President Juncker in Brussels on 27 September 2019, they are also strengthening what the EU and Japan can do together on the global scene to ensure synergies and complementarity between their respective cooperation with partner third countries. The EU and Japan recognize the importance of mobilizing levers and tools to spur private investments and intend to cooperate to facilitate financing of sustainable connectivity, including through possible joint projects, with the engagement of private sector.

In this context, the seminar will focus on the industrial dimension of connectivity by examining the EU-Japan business collaboration in third markets[1], notably in the regions of South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. The impetus for Japanese and European businesses to expand operations overseas continues to strengthen. This internationalization is nothing new. But there is a growing trend of joint ventures or other types of collaborations between European and Japanese companies in third markets, which rely on a combination of complementary technologies, with local knowhow and connections. The existing co-financing agreements of industrial projects between European and Japanese financial institution, e.g. EIB, JICA, JBIC and NEXI will also be discussed.

The seminar aims at understanding better this trend of EU-Japan business collaboration in third markets, notably (i) its magnitude:  for example[2], 69% of German companies active in Japan are involved in projects with Japanese companies outside Japan, (ii) its drivers and rationale, e.g. improve the competitiveness and performance of “allied” firms, strategy to attain economies of scale, share R&D cost, sharing market intelligence, building together value added, better manage global value chain, (iii) its geographical focus e.g. specific targeted regions of the world, (iv) specific industrial sector or size of business partners, and (v) the type of business collaboration, e.g. joint venture, alliance, cooperation network.

EU-Japan business collaboration in third markets will also be examined from the third country point of view notably (i) how attractive is a Japanese and a European business joint venture combining the strengths of both companies, and (ii) its impact  on the local business environment, policies, norms and standards, environment protection, SDGs, circular economy, innovation, education and training, and SDGs.

The seminar will invite European and Japanese companies to share their experience of partnering in third country markets, via business testimonials in various sectors and third markets. It aims at maximizing the benefits of such business partnership, be it between large companies or SMEs as it may represent an opportunity of equal or perhaps even more promising importance than the bilateral business cooperation between Europe and Japan.




Opening remarks and scene-setter

Philippe de Taxis du Poët, General Manager of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, and Minister Counsellor, EU Delegation to Japan


EU-Japan Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure

Tetsuya Watanabe, Director-General for Trade Policy, METI



Drivers, challenges and opportunities for EU-Japan business collaboration in third markets

-          Nikolaus Boltze, Representative Director & President of thyssenkrupp on behalf on the German Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Japan

-          Martin Schultz, Senior Economist,  Fujitsu Research Institute

-          Jason Collins, Chair of the European Business Organisation Worldwide Network, and Chair of the European Australian Business Council

-          Tomotsugu Iwata, Director, Invest Japan Department, JETRO

-          Ryoichi Abe, Director, Division 2, New Energy and Power Finance Department I, Infrastructure and Environment Finance Group about the EIB-JBIC co-financing of industry projects


15.45 Coffee break



Round Table discussion on “dos and don’ts” and recommendations for successful EU-Japan business collaborations in third markets

Moderator: Fabrizio Mura, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation


-            Renato Pacheco, EU Chamber of commerce & industry in Brazil

-            Maximilien Lemaire, EU Chamber of commerce & industry in Ivory Coast

-            Nele Cornelis, EU Chamber of commerce & industry in Singapore

-            Toyoaki Fujita, Business Development Executive, Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation

-            Jan De Turck, Sales Manager Japan & Korea of Septentrio, on collaboration with CORE in third markets

-            Jean-Pierre Ragaru, CTO of Ingérosec, Ingerop Group

-            Pierre Mustiere, CEO of Bouygues Asia

17.15 Q&A


Closing Remarks

Shogo Yoshitake, Director, European Policy Division, MOFA

H.E Patricia Flor, Ambassador of the European Union to Japan

18.00 Networking Reception



[1] "A third way”, Gavin Blair, published in EuroBiz Japan, Oct. 2018

[2] Business climate survey 2019 – German businesses in Japan. German Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Delegation of the European Union to Japan

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