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The External Relations of the European Union

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Edited By Pascaline Winand, Andrea Benvenuti and Max Guderzo

The book analyses the attitudes of non-EU countries towards European integration in historical and contemporary perspectives. The authors study a range of actors in Europe and beyond to explain the impact of the creation of the European Communities on the international system and how the EU is perceived in the world.
The book further shows the significance of the institutional interplay within the EU, and between EU institutions, member states and external actors led by their own internal dynamics to explain policy outcomes. It investigates to what extent the perceptions of the international community towards the European Communities and the EU have been influenced by the complexity of their decision-making and the difficulty of reconciling the views of member states on key external relations issues. The authors also study the interplay of non-EU countries and the EU within the broader context of international and regional institutions and forums for international cooperation.
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From Trade Conflicts to “Global Partners”: Japan and the EEC 1970-1978

Introduction2

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From Trade Conflicts to “Global Partners”

Japan and the EEC 1970-1978

Dr Hitoshi SUZUKI

University of Niigata Prefecture

Japan and Europe should widen, expand and increase the contacts between each other, not only between national governments, but also at the levels of academic, business, information exchange and public affairs. […] My intention of visiting Europe was to search for a new cooperative relationship with an old friend of ours.1

What was the Japanese image of the European Community (EC)3? Was the role played by the European Commission influential during trade negotiations with Japan? The EC common commercial policy was launched in January 1970. Japan and the EC member states experienced trade conflicts during the 1970s and 1980s, however, especially after the first oil crisis. The European Commission, with the unanimous support of the Council of Ministers (Council), was responsible for negotiating foreign trade with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA). Although finding difficulty in unifying the voices and claims among all the member states, the Commission was able to negotiate with Japan, ← 205 | 206 → not only with MOFA but also with other stakeholders: with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Japanese business lobby group, the Keidanren. Thanks to MOFA’s cooperation, the Commission was able to persuade MITI and Japanese industry to make compromises, notably, to free the Japanese market for EC exports in order to ease the trade imbalance, and for Japanese firms to...

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