EU and Japan strengthen ties in third High-Level Economic Dialogue

The EU and Japan held High-Level Economic Dialogue, expanding their cooperation and emphasising economic security. Key outcomes included the establishment of EU-Japan Digital Trade Principles, strategic alignment on sanctions, commitment to the WTO, and a focus on enhancing bilateral cooperation in digital trade.


The EU and Japan convened their third High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), focusing on economic security and expanding the scope of their cooperation, particularly in digital trade. The meeting resulted in significant agreements and strategic alignment between the two parties.

Establishing EU-Japan Digital Trade Principles

One of the key outcomes of the dialogue was the establishment of the EU-Japan Digital Trade Principles. This collaborative instrument aims to enhance bilateral trade and investment by establishing a shared understanding of crucial aspects of digital trade. It emphasises the commitment to an open digital economy devoid of unjustified barriers to international trade. The non-binding Digital Trade Principles will cover data governance, digital trade facilitation, consumer trust, and business trust, aligning with international principles such as the G7 Digital Trade Principles and WTO e-commerce negotiations.

Strengthening (strategic) cooperation

The HLED emphasised the significance of strategic cooperation between the EU and Japan, particularly in the challenging geopolitical landscape. Both parties expressed alignment on current and future sanctions aimed at curbing Russian capabilities. They stressed the importance of collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels on economic security, focusing on areas such as anti-coercion measures, export controls, and investment screening. Notably, the G7 anti-coercion platform established during Japan’s G7 Summit presidency was emphasised as a critical fora for cooperation.

Both the EU and Japan expressed their shared commitment to bolster the international rules-based order, underscoring their dedication to the upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) scheduled for February 2024. Parties emphasised the importance of strengthening the WTO and advancing contemporary digital trade regulations as integral components of the EU-Japan partnership.

Advancing digital trade opportunities

Significant attention was given to the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce, focusing on expanding bilateral cooperation and maximising the potential of digital trade opportunities. Both parties highlighted the importance of concluding the Data Flows negotiations by autumn, recognising it as a top priority to facilitate the implementation of up-to-date digital trade regulations within the existing EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).