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La Poste Chaired the EU-Japan Business Round-Table 25th Annual meeting

The 25th Annual meeting of the EU-Japan Business Round-Table (BRT), an organisation set in 1999 to foster communication between Japanese and European industries, took place on 7 November 2023. This meeting organized at the European Commission's Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels was co-chaired by Philippe Wahl, CEO of La Poste Groupe, and Dr. Endo, Executive advisor at NEC. In view of the high-level participation, the strategic dimension of the topics under discussions as well as the advisory role of the BRT towards the European Commission, Jean-Paul Forceville has been the Sherpa of Philippe Wahl for several years in the BRT; he had a pivotal role in the meeting coordination.

Numerous high-level representatives from European and Japanese companies joined the meeting to discuss key issues of interests around Economic security, the Green and Digital transition as well as Regulatory harmonisation. This year a particular focus was put on Economic security confirming that the strong cooperation between Japan and the EU as like-minded partners is essential for them to remain leaders in the green and digital transition. The BRT members gave several interventions on these topics to present the issues at stake and expressed their views during 4 dedicated Themed discussions.

On these topics, the BRT 2023 annual joint recommendations that comprise its members’ concrete proposals on these topics were formally presented by Jean-Paul Forceville. They were handed over to Vice-President Věra Jourová who received them on behalf of the European Commission. Each BRT Working party presented as well its recommendations on their respective issues of interest.

The meeting also included a Joint session with authorities with interventions on the Japanese side from the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, (MOFA), the Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) and the Vice-Minister for Policy Coordination (MIC) and on the EU-side, Kerstin Jorna, Director-General at DG GROW. This Joint Session with the EU and Japanese Authorities outlined recent developments in EU-Japan government-to-government discussions and areas for possible EU-Japan industrial cooperation. DG Trade, DG Clima and DG Connect together with MOFA, METI and MIC also intervened during the Themed discussions. Finally, both ambassadors were present to share the closing remarks of the meeting.

This was the last annual meeting chaired by Phillippe Wahl as at the end of 2023, he will finish his terms as EU-side Chair of the BRT. Under his leadership, the BRT has been able to evolve positively: it has welcomed more SMEs and more women representatives among its members while being able to work in a more agile way on topics of key interests for its members. During the meeting, it was therefore announced that Mrs. Belén Garijo, CEO of Merck would succeed Philippe Wahl as EU-side BRT Chair. The EU-side is particularly honoured to have such a brilliant woman to take over this key position in order to continue to push forward the interests of EU and Japan companies towards the Authorities. In view of the key topics discussed in this forum and of the importance of the EU-Japan cooperation, La Poste will remain actively involved in the BRT activities.


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