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Swiss High-level Visits to Japan

Swiss President Alain Berset with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Tokyo, April 2018

Swiss President reiterated wish to update the bilateral free trade agreement (JSFTEPA)

Author
Martin Herb
Published
April 2018

Dear SJCC Members and friends,

April 2018 saw an unusual intensity of Swiss high-level visits to Japan.

On 4 April, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer paid a working visit to Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Taro Aso in order to discuss bilateral and multilateral financial issues.

On 12 April, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, welcomed Swiss President Alain Berset on his first visit to Japan. At an official meeting, Prime Minister Abe stated that “Japan hopes to work on maintaining the free and open international order based on the rule of law together with Switzerland, an important partner with which Japan shares fundamental values.”

Alain Berset confirmed these values and “reiterated Switzerland's wish to update the successful bilateral free trade agreement (JSFTEPA) that has been in place since 2009.” The Swiss President took up SJCC’s initial initiative through the Parliamentary Interpellation from 12 December 2017,  after the EU and Japan reached in 2017 an FTA in which Japan and the EU negotiated lower tariffs compared to those with Switzerland in the areas of agriculture and some industrial goods, as well as giving EU-based companies additional access to public procurement.

In order to avoid a situation where Swiss companies have to face discrimination in Japan, the Swiss-Japanese FTEPA needs to be renegotiated as soon as possible. An instructive comparative study by Prof. Patrick Ziltener in February 2018 details what the EU-Japan FTEPA means for Swiss exporters.

Furthermore, Switzerland and Japan signed a declaration of intent to strengthen collaboration between the Swiss National Science Foundation and its Japanese counterpart.

A highly interesting and exclusive perspective on how the business world in Japan has developed over the last three decades will be presented on 14 May in Zurich at the dinner presentation following our 33rd AGM. SJCC Board Member and CEO of Georg Fischer, Yves Serra, will share with us his view on doing business in Japan. Mr. Serra has spent 13 years of his professional career  in Japan (1985-1998).
 
Thank you for registering for the AGM and/or the dinner presentation by 4 May.

I look very much forward to meeting you at our upcoming events and remain,

Yours sincerely,

Martin Herb
SJCC President