Philippe de Taxis du Poët
- General Manager (EU-side)
- EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation
- Minister Counsellor
- Delegation of the European Union to Japan
Date of birth: Sept. 17, 1957
Hometown: Sabran, France
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 10 (as of May 2019)
I worked from 1987 to 1989 at NEC Central Research Lab, the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. This opened new doors for a young French engineer with a Ph.D. in biotechnology ready to learn from Japan, the place to be at the end of the ’80s. I did find many things that I was looking for, but looking back, what was even more interesting was to find things that I was not looking for. It was, in a sense, positive destabilization.
“United in diversity.” I like this oxymoron, the motto of the European Union. I believe it has a universal dimension. It is about building trust for our common future. It means coming together, while at the same time being enriched by our different cultures. It is unity without uniformity, and diversity without fragmentation. It is a learning process to confront the complexity of our world, think anew and act anew.
Before joining the European Commission, I worked for about 10 years in industry as head of research and development projects in various sectors and countries; I took pride in my work toward concrete products and innovation ecosystems. But above all, be it from industry or from administration, it is contributing to the peace and prosperity project of the EU that makes me proud and gives me a sense of purpose and belonging.
Entry into force of the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement on Feb. 1, 2019, marks the start of a new era for the EU and Japan. However, it is not the end of the story — it is actually the beginning. The priority for us at the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation is now implementing the EPA. We should ensure that businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, reap the maximum benefits from the agreement.
In a global context with rising protectionism and geopolitical uncertainties, succeeding in the EPA implementation is good for the EU and good for Japan. And on the global scene, it sends a signal that the EU and Japan stand together for sustainable cooperation and team up to preserve the benefits of openness. In this context, I would like to stress the importance of joint EU-Japan business partnerships for operating together in third-party countries, from Southeast Asia, to Africa, Latin America, and EU neighboring countries. New opportunities for the EU and Japan are coming up. So, my advice to the industry is work with us to make sure that our EPA delivers, work with us on moving toward a circular economy and digital economy, work with us for jointly operating in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, and above all, work with us to tap the great innovation potential in Europe and in Japan to improve people’s lives.