The idea of the EBC was conceived by the early presidents of the national European Chambers of Commerce, who established it in 1972. Formation of the EBC as the collective trade policy arm of the chambers was the first concrete expression of multilateral co-operation in Japan between the industries of the European member states.
The EBC emerged against a background of growing trade between Europe and Japan at a time of nascent desire to capture the spirit of a relationship greater than just trade. The establishment coincided with burgeoning investment by a rapidly industrialising Japanese economy into the EU economy that itself, was undergoing a significant new development phase.
Despite the rapidly growing interest of European companies in the Japanese market, the high level of regulatory and non-regulatory barriers posed a serious impediment to market entry, business development and investment. Accordingly, the trade and investment balances were very much skewed in favour of Japan.
In response to this situation, The Council of the European Business Community was officially established in 1983 after it was decided that a more formal structure was needed to adequately address these common trade and investment issues facing European businesses in Japan. An Executive Operating Board consisting of elected representatives from the member Chambers replaced the steering committee and a secretariat was established to coordinate the work of various committees.
The EBC is now a major player in the Japanese trade and investment policy environment. The EBC has established strong ties with the European Commission, the EU Member States, the Japanese Government and other business organisations.
The EBC is committed to Japan and continues to work towards improving the business environment for European firms doing business in this important market.
The core mission of the EBC then and now is to promote an impediment-free business and investment environment that will make it less difficult and costly to do business here. The advantages to Japan are obvious – an impediment-free market will serve as a catalyst for global trade liberalisation and prosperity. Unified markets are needed to create a business environment which will stimulate innovation and economic growth, more investment and create new jobs.
Japan’s decade-long economic slump, globalization, regulatory reform, and aging population have been slowly forcing welcome changes in the Japanese market. European companies now have greater opportunities for direct investment, strategic alliances, and other tie-ups than at any other time. Accordingly, the EBC's work to encourage beneficial structural and regulatory changes has become all the more important, not only for European companies doing business here, but for Japanese consumers as well.