Tokyo – 17 July, 2018. EU and Japan reaffirmed the joint commitment to free trade and strategic cooperation. In occasion of the recently held EU-Japan summit, European leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is now opening new opportunities for European companies doing business in Japan or planning to enter this unique market.
“With the largest bilateral trade deal EVER, today we cement Japanese-European friendship. Geographically, we are far apart. But politically and economically we could hardly be any closer.” – Donald Tusk, President of the European Council [full remarks ]
After strengthening their relationship over the years, the EU and Japan have become a reliable partner to each other and they are now working together to remove trade and investment barriers, creating a favourable environment to boost each other’s economy. Just as the EU and Japan have a long history of working together, so does the EU Gateway to Japan programme: it started to support European companies in the early 1990s, and since then it has already helped thousands of European firms to establish long lasting collaborations with Japanese businesses.
The EU and Japan together account for more than a third of the world economy, and the EPA will create new opportunities for exporting European goods and services in the field of medical devices and transport equipment, which are two of the five promising sectors targeted by EU Gateway to Japan. The programme organises EU-funded market scoping missions to Japan open to 480 European companies until 2019. Each mission accommodates to up to 40 companies and includes exhibition days  in five key sectors as outlined in the Economic Partnership Agreement:
- Healthcare & Medical Technologies  to access Japan’s € 400 billion potential.
- Railway Technologies & Services  to focus on the world’s biggest rail retail market worth € 133 billion.
- Green Energy Technologies  to look at Japan’s focus on energy efficiency and growing share of renewable power.
- Environment & Water Technologies  to address challenges of Japan’s highly urbanised society.
- Construction & Building Technologies  to explore the world’s third largest construction market.
In addition to trade matters, EU and Japan leaders discussed strategic cooperation in several areas, including energy and climate. EU Gateway to Japan has a clear “green” focus in line with the EU and Japan responsible approach to global challenges related to the environment and energy supplies.
This flagship EU-funded initiative provides targeted services  and business match-making for European companies looking to expand their market into Japan, also supporting the smaller European businesses to grow internationally.
Over the past decades EU Gateway | Business Avenues has built both expertise and trust in Japan. Local actors know that companies participating in this programme have been carefully selected and represent the best in European technology and innovation. Dedicated teams in Europe and Japan help European companies sound out business opportunities, pre-arrange meetings with targeted potential partners in Japan and provide hands-on coaching.
EU-funded market scoping missions are posted regularly  on the official website, and European companies can apply directly online or request support to firstname.lastname@example.org .