Jointly hosted by techUK and the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA), the UK-Japan Tech Forum is a platform that brings together UK and Japanese tech companies, as well as stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the key issues that affect trade and investment between the two countries. This year’s Forum was focused on the ongoing UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations and the UK-Japan collaboration in the post-COVID-19 recovery stage.
UK and Japanese tech companies are global leaders in innovation, R&D and delivering the sustainable growth, vital in this time of uncertainty. techUK and JEITA call on negotiators to conclude an agreement as soon as possible, to allow business the legal certainty they need from 1 January 2021.
techUK and JEITA are highly supportive of the UK and Japanese governments’ ambition to achieve a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, with state-of-the-art provisions on digital and telecoms. To be modern and ground-breaking, this imminent agreement will likely include key principles on digital trade, in particular those that:
- Enable the cross-border flow of data without compromising data protection standards;
- Prevent the forced localization of data;
- Facilitate regulatory access to data;
- Foster cross-border data flows for financial data, which should not be treated differently to other categories of data;
- Commit to the ongoing duty-free treatment of products aligned with the WTO’s ITA and ITA2 agreements, and collaborate to expand dutyfree coverage for innovative new technologies;
- Protect the moratorium on digital tariffs by including it in the agreement;
- Prevent the mandatory transfer of source codes, algorithms, or encryption keys as a condition for market access;
- Support the development of AI through enabling open government data and text and data mining while respecting intellectual property;
- Establish cooperation on the regulation of AI, fintech and emerging technologies;
- Establish cooperation on cybersecurity issues with an emphasis on a risk-based approach;
- Standardise minimum de minimis thresholds to facilitate ecommerce;
- Secure recognition of e-signatures and expansion of paperless trading.
By including such provisions, the UK and Japan have an opportunity to set high standards for digital trade and promote an open and rules-based international trade agenda. With the borders between the digital economy and the economy as a whole increasingly blurred, we believe digital trade provides a key opportunity for economic recovery, growth and resilience, as well as for increased investment in each other’s markets.
techUK and JEITA also recognize that both economies already share strong collaboration, trade and investment links, especially in the technology sector. Both countries are major exporters and investors in each other’s economies.
The UK-Japan FTA has the potential to unlock a new wave of collaboration across various technology verticals and engagement areas, including tech trade and investment, research and development and technology partnerships, among others.
In order to unlock these opportunities, techUK and JEITA will explore running a working group to explore complimentary technology areas and optimize FTA opportunities, turbo-boosting the UK-Japan trade and investment relationship and carrying through implementation of the FTA on a practical level. The working group will be convened through the joint techUK-JEITA initiative, the UK-Japan Tech Forum.
On a practical level, techUK and JEITA also commit to strengthening the relationship between techUK members and Japanese companies by exploring virtual engagement in the upcoming CEATEC event, the biggest IT trade show in Japan which displays the Society 5.0 – the society that makes full use of advanced technologies. Hosted by JEITA, CEATEC 2020 Online will introduce new solutions for the sustainable development through the use of the latest technologies. techUK will work with JEITA to enable techUK members to take advantage of these emerging tech collaboration opportunities.
The Chair of the UK-Japan Tech Forum, Paul Patterson, CEO and Head of Northern & Western Europe, Fujitsu, commented on the recent meeting:
“The UK and Japan are natural partners with already strong links built upon shared values and inter-connected economies. This relationship is especially strong in the technology sector with both countries committed to innovation. The UK-Japan FTA can deliver new and exciting opportunities to drive growth and prosperity for both nations. I look forward to working together with both governments and the business communities from Japan and the UK to unlock new collaboration areas through the future activities of the UK-Japan Tech Forum.”
Julian David, CEO, techUK, said:
“The technology sector has been one of the success stories for UK-Japan collaboration. With the conclusion of the UK-Japan EPA in sight, both the UK and Japan have the opportunity to unlock a new wave of tech partnerships and growth. We must however ensure that the new agreement delivers on opening for further avenues in tech collaboration, trade and investment, and creates an enabling environment for innovation. I look forward to working with partners through theUK-Japan Tech Forum to optimize the FTA opportunities and turbo-boost the UKJapan tech collaboration through joint initiatives.”
Keiichi Kawakami, Senior Executive Vice President, JEITA, said:
“UK-Japan Tech Forum showed that technology sector in both countries hope for high-level rules on electronic commerce in Japan-UK FTA in sight, as stepping forward to Data Free Flow with Trust or DFFT agreed by the G20 meeting last year in Japan. To strengthen the relationship between Japan and UK technology sector, I look forward to working with techUK to take advantage of CEATEC 2020 ONLINE held in coming October as an opportunity for co-creation among enterprises and start-ups in both countries for innovation toward the Society 5.0.”
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