The partnership will enhance collaboration on digital issues to strengthen supply chains and reduce reliance on China for key technologies
Following the first Japan–EU Digital Partnership Council meeting held last week, Japan and the EU have signed two Memoranda of Cooperation (MoC) to advance work in crucial areas in connectivity.
As part of the deal, the two parties plan to support the development submarine cable connectivity via the Arctic, which will provide secure, reliable, and sustainable connectivity between the EU and Japan. If successful, there is possibility for these submarine networks to be extended to a wider parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The partners also signed a second MoC on semiconductors, focusing on enabling greater cooperation on R&D, advancing skills for the semiconductor industry, and subsidy transparency. The partnership will also see the formation of an early warning system for supply chain disruption, allowing each nation to better prepare for shortages should they occur.
The subtext to this agreement is the perceived need to build self-sufficiency and diversity in the global semiconductor supply chain, with both parties increasingly wary of their technical reliance on China for chip manufacturing.
“Economic security is a common concern for Japan and the EU. We share similar dependencies, and we both need to de-risk our supply chains. One of our objectives is to reduce overreliance for products that are vital for our economies, like critical raw materials and semiconductors on a handful of suppliers – many of them based in China,” said President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
Additionally, the EU and Japan have agreed to enhance cooperation on several other, wider issues, such as generative artificial intelligence, quantum computing, data governance, and cyber security.
The co-chairs of the Japan-EU Digital Partnership Council are set to meet again in 2024 to reviews the progress of the deal.
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